Textual Expression- LOL is dead…long live HAHA

With more of our lives spent behind our computer, tablet, and phone screens, our social-media norms are as important as more traditional norms for how we interact and express ourselves. The big-data folks at Facebook were curious about some of the recent trends and decided to measure how we share laughter online when not using our voice.


The biggest surprise from the research is that the “LOL” appears to be on it’s way out. While a simple “ha” is of course shorter…the LOL seems to still get skipped over for the longer “haha” or even “HAHAHA”. While the channel is for text or picture based expression of our reactions, we are at least moving back towards a more natural voice-like expression of our emotions through text instead of needing to create a special code-like format for emotional shorthand.


Facebook published its findings on its research blog. The data analyzed posts and comments from the last week of May that contained at least one string of characters indicating laughter. Facebook found that roughly 15% of the people who posted or commented during the week demonstrated at least one online expression of laughter. Given some of the trends and news lately, perhaps we should be happy that the laughing number was even that high.


Facebook researchers broke the data into 4 groups of laughing personality types: the haha-ers, the hehe-ers, the lol-ers, and the emoji users.

The results?not loling laughter

51.4% = haha-ers

33.7% = emoji’s

13.1% = hehe-ers

1.9% = lol-ers

No data was collected on how many giggity-giggity-ers there were, but the important lesson from the data is that people are still finding a reason to laugh, even if they are not rolling on the floor while doing it.


Interestingly they also found that age, gender, and location do play a factor in how we laugh or how “long” we laugh for, such as a “haha” vs a more funny “hahahahahahaha”. For example, men select “haha” more often and slightly more “hehe” as well, while women more often select an emoji, and they are also more willing to cling to the “lol”, but only by a small margin. Emoji’s are more popular in the Chicago and the mid-west, while “haha” and “hehe” are more popular on the west coast.


While expressing your laughter  is much more natural with new communication channels like OrbMi, it’s interesting to still see how even textual based emotional expression can change over time or across different demographics.


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