In August The New Yorker published an article about laughing online; last Thursday Facebook brought its massive volume of data to the table, and determined that no one says “Lol” in public anymore -- at least not on the social network.
“Why rely on anecdotes when you have data?” Facebook said in the blog post. “We analyzed de-identified posts and comments posted on Facebook in the last week of May with at least one string of characters matching laughter.”
Notice the emphasis on “posts and comments” with no reference to messaging, which is private. What the social network found is that, in pubic at least, people don’t use “Lol” anymore, preferring instead to use “Haha” or an emoji.
In fact, “Lol” made up only 1.9 percent of the laughter terms during the week that Facebook analyzed, with “Haha” coming in at 51.4 percent and emoji coming in at 33.7 percent, “Hehe” came in third at 13.1 percent.
Facebook then went as far as to break down preference for emoji, “Haha,” “Hehe,” and “Lol” into gender usage, age, and location within the United States -- finding that “Haha” and “Hehe” are more popular on the west coast, while the Midwest prefers emoji and the southern states are fond of “Lol.”
It is important to note that this data shows how people laugh in public, privately user’s messages could be rife with “Lols.”
What form of laughter do you use online? Were you surprised by any of the data? Tell us in the comments below.