Thursday, January 30, 2020

Comparison of Emoji Use in Names, Profiles, and Tweets

In most of our work to date with respect to exploring social media, we have only looked at the text or images from online social media platforms (e.g. Twitter and Flickr) and excluded  emojis from the analysis. However, this has now changed with a new paper co-authored with  Melanie Swartz entitled "Comparison of Emoji Use in Names, Profiles, and Tweets" which will be presented at he Eighth IEEE International Workshop on Semantic Computing for Social Networks and Organization Sciences in conjunction with 14th IEEE International Conference on Semantic Computing

In the paper we discuss how emoji use is becoming more and more popular by users of online social networking sites as they can be an effective way to express sentiment, sarcasm or feelings which are not easily conveyed as text. However, limited research has focused on analysis of the behavior of emoji use or how to compare emoji use across users or documents. To overcome this limitation, in this paper: (1) we present a methodology to extract, aggregate, and compare emoji use across a collection of documents based on Unicode emoji category and subcategories, (2) we present a baseline of statistics of emoji use in user names, profile descriptions, and tweets, and (3) we compare emoji use as categories and subcategories between users and content a user shares in the user name, profile description, retweets and non-retweets.

By considering this semantic grouping of emojis, we move the research on emojis beyond just comparing individual emojis and broad aggregations. In applying our methodology to a set of 44 million tweets and over 3 million user profiles, we find that differences in emoji use emerged based on document type (i.e., user names, profile descriptions, retweets, and non-retweets). As such, our work offers a new lens to study and compare forms of self expression across a variety of digital media content types. If you wish to find out more about this work, below we present the abstract to the paper, our workflow that allows for emoji comparison and some results. Finally at the bottom of the page we provide the full reference and a link to the paper.

Online social networking applications are popular venues for self-expression, communication, and building connections between users. One method of expression is that of emojis, which is becoming more prevalent in online social networking platforms. As emoji use has grown over the last decade, differences in emoji usage by individuals and the way they are used in communication is still relatively unknown. This paper fills this gap by comparing emoji use across users and collectively in user names, profiles, and in original and re-shared content. We present a methodology that enables comparison of semantically similar emojis based on Unicode emoji categories and subcategories. We apply this methodology to a corpus of over 44 million tweets and associated user names and profiles to establish a baseline which reveals differences in emoji use in user names, profile descriptions, non-retweets, and retweets. In addition, our analysis reveals emoji super users who have a significantly higher proportion and diversity of emoji use. Our methodology offers a novel approach for summarizing emoji use and enables systematic comparison of emojis across individual user profiles and communication patterns, thus expanding methods for semantic analysis of social media data beyond just text.
Keywords: emoji; social media analytics; content analysis; online social networks.

Workflow for emoji comparison.

Proportion of emoji use in profiles, names, retweets, and non-retweets, ordered by category.

Proportion of emoji use by subcategory.

Top emoji for each communication type.

Swartz, M. and Crooks, A.T. (2020), Comparison of Emoji Use in Names, Profiles, and Tweets, The Eighth IEEE International Workshop on Semantic Computing for Social Networks and Organization Sciences: From User Information to Social Knowledge, San Diego, CA. (pdf)

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