Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Reader 1

Galia Bar-Sever

Reader 2

Lise Abrams

Reader 3

Stacey Wood

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.


The rise of emojis in the past decade has taken the internet by storm, expanding our understanding of how features of language are represented online. This linguistic expansion is especially visible on social media sites, where people use emojis to communicate emotion, gesture, tone, and other nonverbal components of language. The current study reviews the functionality of emojis, from their unique linguistic properties to their role in online identity construction. This study explores the implementation of emojis online contexts, looking specifically at the effects of emojis on perception and engagement with branded content on Twitter. Previous emoji research has established the emoji’s ability to convey affect and aspects of social identity, as well as how brands can harness these features to connect with consumers (McShane et al., 2021). The current study corroborates these findings, indicating that emoji presence leads to increased reported happiness, connectedness and identification with brands, brand playfulness, and user engagement with branded messaging. Though emoji research is a relatively new area of study, the findings of this experiment and related research reveal larger trends in online communication and digital representations of identity.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.