Sarah Wiseman

Sarah Wiseman

Emoji Analyst

Talk Topic: Why does ? mean “I love you?”

Emoji are an incredibly popular way to communicate in digital media – on facebook messenger alone we send 5 billion a day (not all of them sent by me)

Every emoji has a description assigned by the Unicode consortium, but as users, we don’t always stick to that. When people use ? they aren’t always talking about the fruit…

I became interested in how people use emoji to mean things they weren’t intended for when I sent a mysterious emoji to a friend who had no idea what I was talking about

I then conducted an academic study to find out if I am weird, or if other people do this too.


Sarah Wiseman is a Lecturer of Computer Science at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research focuses on how humans interact with technology across wide-ranging areas such as medical device design, immersive theatre and more recently the increasingly sophisticated and subtle ways that humans are communicating with emoji.

She is also an active science communicator speaking at the Royal Institution and the Science Museum as well as doing science comedy at Bright Club and other shows


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