Instagram: #Hashtag Emojis and Better Search Capabilities

Instagram recently announced that emojis — those smiling, sad or crazy face pictures — are now searchable, allowing even more people and pictures to be discovered.


This is big news for all Instagram users, even for us newbies. Not only does this mean that you’ll be able to tag or search for your favorite emoticon, but it also means that Instagram is taking note of the use of emojis — and its rise in popularity as a language among Instagram users. Those moments when you don’t know what to say, but can better express yourself with a smiley face or a thumbs up, is now not taken for granted.

“It is a rare privilege to observe the rise of a new language. Emoji[s] are becoming a valid and near-universal method of expression in all languages.” — Thomas Dimson, Instagram software engineer


So, What Does This all Mean?

It allows your thumbs up or smiley faces to be found in the hashtag or people search boxes, which should lead to more interactions — another way to get tons of likes and followers. The upward trend in emoji use should consequently provide another means of having your pictures and bios noticed, as Instagram reported that more than 40 percent of text comments contain emoji.

Additionally, with Instagram allowing emojis to be tagged, emojis will undoubtedly see an increase in use — which should also provide a more collective understanding and meaning of each emoji. However, interpretation of these symbols will remain at your discretion; you’ll undoubtedly use emoticons wherever or however you see fit.

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For example, the high-five emojis are intended to mean congratulations or a job well done. However, a search on Instagram of the high-five emoji reveals the icon can also mean “hands in prayer,” which has been used for #PrayforNepal pictures.

Emoji High-five

Speaking of Interactions

Not only do the emoji help with interactions, they may even help your rating among the Instagram community. More importantly, Instagram recently said they want “to be the real-time view into the world.” What does this mean?

According to Instagram co-founder Mike Kreiger, this means he wants “to make news discoverable, to make what’s going on in the world accessible.” Instead of only seeing a handful of pictures on Instagram of your friends, Mike Kreiger wants you to also be able to discover or search for newsworthy content based on any given subject — this is a lofty goal from where they started just years ago.

Expanding On the Explorer Tab

Last year, Instagram updated their explorer tab in which users would be able to find pictures that weren’t just from their friends. This update helped Instagram users discover more of the 70 million photos uploaded to the app each day, which Kreiger admitted to being a problem. He said, “On a given day, you’re probably seeing maybe 100 photos in your feed. It’s actually pretty hard to discover the rest of them.” 

However, in an interview with WIRED’s Jessi Hempel, he said his team is working on a search engine to better see content. He wants you to be able to see what’s going on in the world — and this means a whole new way of looking at Instagram.

“Take famous images like the Mona Lisa. What would the nudity detector see if it looked at it? The answer: A beautiful blonde woman in a black dress taking a selfie.” Mike Kreiger, Instagram co-founder

mona lisa_emojis
How have you used #emojis? What do you think about Instagram and their new endeavor?

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