Emojis have stolen the popularity of slang and acronyms on the internet, according to a discovery by the researchers at Instagram, further proving that the language of the internet is evolving.
The well-famed cartoon-styled pictograms have now been used in nearly half of all comments and captions on Instagram, the research reveals.
The rise to replace acronyms such as LOL and OMG has been rapid, seeing as emojis only had around a 10 per cent usage in 2010. The increase in emoji usage directly counters the reduction of the proportion of entries featuring acronym-based slang, down from 10 per cent to around 5 per cent.
In the UK, 48 per cent of Instagram posts and comments include emojis, trailing behind Finland's 63 per cent and France's 50 per cent.
Emojis, which now have over 700 icons, have been present since the introduction among iOS devices in 2011 and among other smartphones and tablets in 2013. This led to the conclusion that the continued increase of emojis is attributable to mobile device developments.
With the rise of picture-based messages, pessimists argue that such technology brings mobile device users to a regressed form of language, attributing it to the ancient form of writing, i.e hieroglyphics
However, some observers counter this by saying that emojis are merely used to embellish traditional words.
“It is a rare privilege to observe the rise of a new language,” Instagram lead researcher Thomas Dimson said. “On Instagram, emojis are becoming a valid and near-universal method of expression in all languages.”