Emoticon Style: Interpreting Differences in Emoticons Across Cultures
Keywords:emoticon, nonverbal communication, computer mediated communication, cross-cultural analysis, twitter
Emoticons are a key aspect of text-based communication, and are the equivalent of nonverbal cues to the medium of online chat, forums, and social media like Twitter. As emoticons become more widespread in computer mediated communication, a vocabulary of different symbols with subtle emotional distinctions emerges especially across different cultures. In this paper, we investigate the semantic, cultural, and social aspects of emoticon usage on Twitter and show that emoticons are not limited to conveying a specific emotion or used as jokes, but rather are socio-cultural norms, whose meaning can vary depending on the identity of the speaker. We also demonstrate how these norms propagate through the Twitter @-reply network. We confirm our results on a large-scale dataset of over one billion Tweets from different time periods and countries.