Following a recent survey conducted by social networking phenomenon Facebook, the use of ‘lol’ (“laughing out loud”, for those who still don’t know what this acronym means) is diminishing and has been replaced by other ways of expressing online laughter.
As part of its study, the social network analysed a large sample of posts from U.S. users to the site. This research into how people laugh online revealed that ‘haha’, the insertion of an emoji, and even ‘hehe’ had overtaken ‘lol’ in popularity, with only 1.9% of posts scanned using the expression.
The term ‘haha’, and all of its variants, proved to be the most popular with U.S. users, with a massive 51.4% using this to express laughter, and a further 33.7% using an emoji for the same purpose. ‘Hehe’ and its variants ranked third out of the four categories, with 13.1% of posts containing this expression.
Furthermore, the research continued to break this data down into age and gender demographics. In terms of gender, the study identified that emojis were more popular amongst women, whereas male participants found themselves using ‘haha’ more often.
Age also threw up some interesting results, with ‘lol’ being used more by older users. The average age of those using ‘lol’ was more towards 30 in comparison to the emoji and ‘haha’ showing an average age closer to 20.
There is no doubt that as time goes by there, will be another linguistic shift into how we express our laughter and amusement online. ‘Lol’ may be uncool now, but who knows, maybe it could make a comeback to our news feeds the near future? However, with emoticons becoming more and more popular, there may come a time where we do not communicate online with words at all!