The way we laugh online is changing, according to Facebook which has released some intriguing research into the words we choose to express ourselves.
Writing on the Facebook Research blog, the researchers reveal that "LOL" - short for "Laugh Out Loud" has been eclipsed on Facebook by simply stating "Haha", "Hehe" or even using emoji.
One of the reasons behind the shift, it is speculated, is because it enables a more granular expression on laughter. By using "Ha" as a building block, we can express whether something is only slightly funny ("haha"), or completely hilarious ("hahahahahahahaha").
Using its enormous dataset (though Facebook didn't specify exactly how much data it mined), it was even able to generate the following chart showing how many characters were used in different types of laughter:
Interestingly though it turns out that we're not laughing uniformly: There are gender, age and geographic divisions. Whilst "haha" is still the most popular expression for both genders, women are more likely than men to go for an emoji. The age split is exactly what you would expect too: "LOL" is most popular amongst older users, who will have been there in the early days of the internet, emoji are most popular with the young, and "haha" or "hehe" does the job for everyone in between.
In a sadly US-centric geographic analysis, the researchers found that while Seattle residents are more likely to go for "haha", Chicagoans go for an emoji. "LOL" remains most popular in conservative Texas. We presume if Britain was included "Chortle" would surely be added to the list.
Image credit: Shutterstock/ SFerdon (edited)