Since the day when some intrepid people started using LOL to express mirth, laughing online was born. The Internet is an ever evolving entity, though, so of course LOL isn’t enough.
Facebook has published a study that takes a deeper look into how people laugh online and came up with some interesting, though hardly shocking, data. The study, “The Not-So-Universal Language of Laughter,” came about in response to a New Yorker article that anecdotally explored the way people laugh online. Facebook wanted to get some hard data on the amusing subject, and so they analyzed posts and comments from users in the United States. Private messages were excluded from the study.
People were categorized by the type of online laughter they chose, Facebook said that most people pick one and stick to it. What they found is that haha, and its longer variants, is the choice of 51% of people, with the second most popular choice, emoji, coming in at 33%. Hehe was in third place with 13% and LOL straggled at the end with only 1.9%.
The data set also revealed that there are differences in expressing laughter online both geographically and between men and women. Midwesterners prefer emoji while southern states still favor lol. On the West Coast, haha and hehe are the clear winners.
"The hahas and to some extent the hehes are preferred by men, whereas emoji are clearly dominated by women, who also seem to like the lols a bit more than men," the study said.
One last assumption that this study dispelled was that the age of the user is a strong indicator of what type of Internet laugh the have. The data shows that across all age groups, from 13 to 70, haha, hahaha, and hahahaha are the most common laughs, followed by hehe.
Now, after all this time put into analyzing the ins and outs of the collective Internet laugh, it must be time to go watch a funny cat video.