Newswise — Before Millennials were over laugh-cry emojis, they were the most used emojis across the world, according to researchers at USC. The emoji was more popular than smiley faces say researchers who categorized millions of tweets across 30 countries and evaluated over 1700 emojis. Their study, "An empirical study of emoji usage on Twitter in linguistic and national contexts" was published in Online Social Networks and Media.

Mayank Kejriwal, a research assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and a research lead at the USC Information Sciences Institute who is the lead author on the paper, says approximately 100 emojis are used most often.

The most important take away? Emojis represent the human condition and that we are more alike than different. Universal emotions dominated, says Kejriwal. Less popular are the tribalism and differences demonstrated by showing flags.

While the term emoji comes from Japanese language, greatest use of emojis on Twitter came from the English-speaking world, Spanish speaking nations and Arabic speakers.

The countries most likely to use emojis outside the US? The Philippines, Brazil and India. Most prominent emoji out of the Middle East? Representations of love--the heart.

Across the world, coastal cities tend to use emojis more than inland areas.

Contextually, in Brazil, tweets about family were mostly likely accompanied by hearts, in the US, there were few tweets about family that were accompanied by emojis.

Journal Link: Online Social Networks and Media