It is a known fact that communication online tends to take over real-life communication. Moreover, there are various ways in which people can express their feelings while they are chatting, through emoticons and stickers, or simply through pre-established words or punctuation.
Laughter, for instance, can be expressed in various ways and it is one of the most commonly employed reaction in virtual communication.
A team of researchers from Facebook decided to have a closer look into the way people “laugh out loud” online. According to their findings, e-laughter is constantly evolving and people are slowly shifting from the very popular LOL to the more obvious and universal “haha” or “hehe”, which is usually followed by emoji.
However, researchers also said that various factors such as location, age and gender have an impact on choosing the type of online laugher. Thus, women and younger users usually go for emoji characters, while men prefer “hehe” and variations of it. As far as location is concerned, it was shown that people who live in Chicago and New York would rather use emoji. However, those who live in Seattle or San Francisco use “haha” to show that they are amused.
In order to reach such conclusions, they collected and analyzed the data available on the platform we use for about a week, starting with the end of May.
They concluded that about one in six people (15 percent of the active users) employ some type of e-laughter. Out of these, more than half prefer “haha”, one third prefer emoji, more than a tenth prefer “hehe” and only 2 percent still use the old-fashioned “LOL” (laugh out loud). About one in five people switch between two types of laughter, usually between “haha” and “hehe”.
At times, users would go for an elongated “hahahahhhhahahahaha” just to show that they are extremely amused.
“The six letter hahaha is also very common, and in general, the hahaers use longer laughter. The hahaers are also slightly more open than the hehe-ers to using odd number of letters, and we do see the occasional hahaas and hhhhaaahhhaas. The lol almost always stands by itself, though some rare specimens of lolz and loll were found,” said the authors of the study.
The researchers even created a chart for users to visualize their findings. Experts believe laugher online is more elaborate than one might think and it is definitely worth looking into it.
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