In Florida, Emojis, LOLs, and Hahas Reign Supreme on Facebook

Floridians are a weird bunch. Geographic isolation has meant bizarre habits, like an aversion to indicator signals and a pathological fear of cockroaches. We even have our own twang—we prefer “you guys” to “y’all” and “Publix” to “supermarket.”

It should come as no surprise that we e-laugh like no other state either. According to a study conducted by Facebook, Floridians have their own dialect for laughing online, too. Here in the Sunshine State we use emojis and “LOL” more than the other 49 states, where “haha” and “hehe” tend to be more common.

(Like “almost ran over an alligator lol” and “my sister’s air conditioner isn’t working *crying of laughter emoji*.)

In the last week of May, Facebook analyzed posts and comments “with at least one string of characters matching laughter,” the report states. And, according to Facebook, there were a lot of laughing comments to analyze—almost 15 percent of Facebook users e-laughed at least once a week. “Haha” reigned supreme. Age, gender, and geographic location also played a factor in predicting e-laughing preference—whether it be “hehe”, “LOL”, or emojis.

To depict the differences in geographic location, Facebook created heat maps to show the popularity of each type of laughter in different states.

According to the map, people from Florida are not fans of the “haha” Whereas our brethren on the opposite side of the country in Washington love to “haha.”

Floridians also seem to be impartial on “hehe,” too. It’s most common in California and the Pacific northwest. It’s not that Floridians don’t like to “hehe"; we just don’t “hehe” in any statistically significant way.

In Florida, we “LOL.” A lot. We "lolololol" and "lol-copter." And, of course, we’re not literally laughing out loud. If we did, we’d probably type “lmao," which surprisingly didn't appear on the Facebook study. Something not mentioned in the study was how Floridians actually read “lol.” Floridians tend not to say L-O-L, but “lol,” as if it has become its own word. It’s usually said in normal conversation, too—and in deadpan.

We're also fans of emojis, and who can blame us? If a picture is worth a thousand words, we're just being efficient. It’s unclear which emojis Floridians tend to use to depict laughing. But, let it be known that New Times has already suggested hyper-localizing the emoji keyboard. 

In Florida, we use so many emojis that Facebook suggests candidates freshen up on their emoji use for the impending presidential election. “The candidates’ emoji game will surely be key in determining who emerges victorious in Florida,” the study notes. The comment begs the question of where we would be today had there had been emojis in 2000 and if Al Gore had used them. LOL.
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Jess Swanson is a staff writer at New Times. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and wrote briefly for the student newspaper until realizing her true calling: pissing off fraternity brothers by reporting about their parties on her crime blog. Especially gifted in jumping rope and solving Rubik’s cubes, she also holds the title for longest stint as an unpaid intern in New Times history. She left the Magic City for New York to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she spent a year profiling circumcised men who were trying to regrow their foreskins for a story that ultimately won the John Horgan Award for Critical Science Journalism. Terrified by pizza rats and arctic temperatures, she quickly returned to her natural habitat.
Contact: Jess Swanson