Before there were emoji, BBM was one of the first mobile messengers to use their own emoticons. Now, BBM features even more custom emojis than ever before.

BlackBerry can track the emoji usage. They’ve put together the chart below that shows the most popular emoji among BlackBerry OS/BBM users from a week in September*.

Emoticon     Emoji        Percent of Total Emoji

1.    =))        emoji4    11.54%

2.   =D         emoji3    10.36%

3.   😀          emoji5      9.05%

4.   ({})         emoji6     8.3%

5.   🙂           emoji7    6.86%

6.    :*          emoji8      5.98%

7.     X_X     emoji9       4.25%

8.      :p       emoji10       3.74%

9.       :'(      emoji11     3%

10.     🙁       emoji12       2.53%

11.      😉      emoji13     2.32%

12.     \=D/   emoji14     1.74%

13.    (y)       emoji15      1.62%

14.     ;;)       emoji16      1.57%

15.    3-|       emoji17      1.49%

16.     <3<3   emoji19     1.26%

17.    😐         emoji20       1.14%

18.     :]x      emoji21       0.91%

19.     :$       emoji22      0.9%

20.     8-|     emoji23    0.83%

*Source: BBM usage data from BlackBerry operating system users, September 22-28, 2014.

BlackBerry’s Matthew Talbot, who is their Senior Vice President of Emerging Solutions, put forth the following ideas behind what the data means:

What Our Favorite Emoji Say About Us

What can we deduce from these very interesting numbers? Well, for starters, we BBM users are a cheery bunch, as our top three emoticons are smiley faces. In fact, the top six represent positive emotions.

This list of the most-popular Twitter emoji, shows some interesting differences. (Take my unschooled opinion here with a grain of salt.) Most notably, hearts loom large on the Twitter list, in the #1, #4, #7, #8 and #15 spots. If BBM is all about smileys, and Twitter is all about hearts, that must mean BBM users are happier and well-adjusted, while Twitter users are prone to hero-worship and blind devotion.

To continue my completely unscientific analysis, I’d like to also compare our BBM data to this “top emoji” list from a WhatsApp user. Based on this list, WhatsApp is really more about drama. The top five here include a screaming “shocker,” a tongue-sticking-out winking face, and a laughing-till-I-cry face. Whew. I’m tired just thinking about it all.

Those looking for a more personal reading on their own use of emoji can send a snapshot of their most recently used to Emojinalysis, and learn “what’s wrong with your life,” courtesy of site mastermind Daniel Brill.

Why Do We Like Emoticons and Emoji So Much?

Recent research indicates that our brains process emoticons similarly to the way they process faces, and that helps us understand things better. As it’s well known that face-to-face communication is easier and more effective, it follows that using emoticons and emoji in our texts and chats are likely to improve the experience — for both parties. Better for me as the talker because I feel like I’m getting my point across better (plus I like deciding which pictures to use). Better for you as the listener because you can be more confident that you understand what I mean. Once everything is said, we both feel that we’ve had a more personal interaction.


Another study has shown that using smiley faces can help you win friends, influence people, and boost your mood, concluding that people with higher social status use emoticons more often than their lower-status colleagues.