English Research Paper

Receiver Interpretations of Emoji Functions: A Gender Perspective

Emoji 2018 - Workshop on Emoji Understanding and Applications in Social Media |


Previous studies have reported gender differences in emoji use and attitudes toward emoji. Here we ask whether, and if so, to what extent, females and males also interpret emoji use differently. We conducted an online survey to assess how different genders interpret the pragmatic functions of emoji in their local discourse contexts, based on [HD17’s] taxonomy of functions. Responses (N=523; 352 females, 121 males, 50 ‘other’) showed few overall differences in how females and males interpreted emoji functions, but the ‘other’ gender differed from the females and males. Based on responses to demographic and social media use questions, these differences appear related to platform norms (e.g., Facebook vs. Tumblr). We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for automating emoji interpretation.