Why Is the Worst Emoji the Most Used Emoji of 2021?

I, for one, am appalled

Why Is the Worst Emoji the Most Used Emoji of 2021?

Whether it’s Spotify wrapping up our favorite music or Instacart rounding up the top food trends based on popular grocery items, end-of-year data is usually a treat. How could I not be utterly fascinated by the inordinate amount of people who made the Baked Feta Pasta dish because a Finnish recipe went viral on TikTok?

But this week, my enjoyment of end-of-year data came to a disappointing end after I realized no one still knows how to use emojis correctly.

Earlier this month, Jennifer Daniel, the Chair of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee, published data that looked at emoji patterns, revealing the characters people used the most this year. Per the findings, which were collected by the Unicode Consortium, “the not-for-profit organization responsible for digitizing the world’s languages,” “Face with Tears of Joy” accounts for over 5% of all emoji use, making it the most frequently used emoji of 2021.

“It appears that reports of Tears of Joy’s death are greatly exaggerated,” wrote Daniel.

Yes, it appears those reports — including my own — may have slightly missed the mark. Though I, along with the rest of Gen-Z, still firmly believe you should not be using Tears of Joy or its even more exaggerated laughing counterpart, “Rolling on the Floor Laughing,” to denote laughter.

The most frequently used emojis in 2019 and 2021.

Over the years, Gen Z subconsciously decided to use the “Loudly Crying Face” to indicate laughing instead of the actual laughing emoji, which would presumably be Tears of Joy. Some also find Tears of Joy to be a little creepy, to the point where they’ve blocked the specific emoji from their feeds entirely. Regardless, you can typically tell someone’s age or if they’re not as internet-savvy by which laughing emoji they use, similar to the OK vs. K debate.

The findings get even more egregious when you consider Loudly Crying Face, the emoji most young people use to signify laughter, is the fifth most frequently used emoji, while Rolling on the Floor Laughing, aka one of the worst emojis you could ever text, is ranked at number three! For the love of god, why?

While I am going to blame this truly appalling information on Boomers, Gen Xers and out-of-touch millennials, I’m also going to look at the positive aspect of this data. 2021 was a strange year of ups and downs, and we’re heading into the New Year still uncertain about new COVID-19 variants. Still, as Daniel points out, our overall emoji usage displayed “mostly positive vibes” this year, with heart emojis, kissy faces and thumbs-up emoticons leading the top ten. So I suppose whatever laughing emoji you use, at least you’re still laughing. (But seriously, stop using Rolling on the Floor Laughing, please.)

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