Emoticon, Emoji, and Sticker Use in Computer-Mediated Communications: Understanding Its Communicative Function, Impact, User Behavior, and Motive

  • Ying TangEmail author
  • Khe Foon Hew
Conference paper
Part of the Educational Communications and Technology Yearbook book series (ECTY)


Using emoticons, emoji, and stickers can supplement the lack of human nonverbal cues in computer-mediated environment. Although the use of emoticons, emoji, and stickers has become a common practice, we lack a comprehensive understanding of its communicative function, its impact on online user interactions, the characteristics of user behavior, and user motives. This study is by far the first review to systematically categorize and conclude the studies on using emoticons, emoji, and stickers in computer-mediated communications. We searched related literature in 11 databases and reviewed 50 empirical studies. We then summarized the characteristics of previous studies and the major topics and findings in an inductive approach. The results show that proper use of emoticons, emoji, and stickers, especially positive emoticons, is conducive to both relationship formation and cognitive understanding. They not only help participants express emotions and manage interrelations but also function as words to aid message comprehension.


Emoticon Emoji Sticker Computer-mediated communications 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationThe University of Hong KongPok Fu LamHong Kong

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