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Illustration: Tom Hislop

Study shows Chicagoans love emojis, rarely use 'LOL'

Written by
Clayton Guse

It's no secret that Chicago is a funny city. From a robust comedy scene to an affable, irreverent view of corrupt politics and miserable winters, this is a town that loves to laugh. But the way Chicagoans translate those chuckles into online conversations is a bit different than any other place. 

Inspired by a recent article in The New Yorker, Facebook conducted a new study that looked into the phrases people use to convey laughter online. The analysis "de-identified posts and comments posted on Facebook in the last week of May with at least one string of characters matching laughter," and found that nearly 60 percent of such posts coming out of Chicago contained an emoji. This rate was higher than the five other cities that were surveyed—New York, Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco and Boston. While our emoji game is on point, the use of "haha" is sorely lacking. See the chart below for a comparison:

The data also shows that the use of "hehe," which is creepy, and "lol," which is almost always a lie, have both become quite rare nationwide. The collective replacement of "lol" with "haha" can be seen as a positive evolution, given that almost no one is actually laughing out loud to your stupid cat video. The surge of emoji use in Chicago could be an indication of the city's superior creativity, or it could just be representative of our lack of ability to convey emotion through text.

[RECOMMENDED: Chicago emojis we wish existed]

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