English Journal Article

Emojis as Contextual Indicants in Location-Based Social Media Posts

ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10(6), 407 |


The presented study aims to investigate the relationship between the use of emojis in location-based social media and the location of the corresponding post in terms of perceived objects and conducted activities connected to this place. The basis for this is not a purely frequency-based assessment, but a specifically introduced measure called typicality. To evaluate the typicality measure and examine the assumption that emojis are contextual indicants, a dataset of worldwide geotagged posts from Instagram relating to sunset and sunrise events is used, converted to a privacy-aware version based on a Hyperloglog approach. Results suggest that emojis can often provide more nuanced information about user activities and the surrounding environment than is possible with hashtags. Thus, emojis may be suitable for identifying less obvious characteristics and the sense of a place. Emojis are already explored in research, but mainly for sentiment analysis, for semantic studies or as part of emoji prediction. In contrast, this work provides novel insights into the user’s spatial or activity context by applying the typicality measure and therefore considers emojis contextual indicants.