To illustrate the point, here's a conversation between Abby, who uses Google Nexus, and Bill, who uses an iPhone:
In the above case, the "grinning face with smiling eyes emoji" (😁) - which, the study said, was the most misinterpreted emoji across platforms - meant different things to the texters. On Apple phones, the face appears like someone gritting their teeth, where as on HTC, it's someone smiling in an excited fashion.
To find this, researchers asked study participants to rate 22 different emojis across five platforms by their level of sentiment on a scale that went from strongly negative (-5) to strongly positive (5). For the aforementioned grinning face emoji, Apple users rated it a -1, where as Microsoft, Samsung, LG and Google users all rated it 3 or higher.
The researchers said this study shows how emojis mean different things when used in varying contexts, which adds another facet to our language and understanding of how these simple phone images are used to talk with friends.
The researchers said that "a number of scholars have argued that emoji represent a fundamental shift in language use. As such, fully understanding emoji's role in human communication will be an important step in developing the next generation of language technologies."
This is the first time that research has backed the idea that different systems have varying definitions of emojis, which change the way we use them.
But people have surely debated the meanings of certain emojis over the years. In a piece for Deseret News National, Brittany Binowski highlighted the discussion about whether or not the prayer hands emojiwas actually prayer hands. Some considered it to actually be two hands high-fiving, and not a symbol of prayer.
"We all communicate differently, and use slang, emojis, and other things to say what we mean as quickly as possible," according to Digital Trends. "Think about that the next time you send this emoji to your friends and wonder why someone misunderstood the intended meaning. It might be that they saw the expression as half-smile, or perhaps half-frown - or maybe they're just using an iPhone."
Still, you'll want to make sure you're using your emojis correctly so that you don't convey the wrong messages to your spouse or loved ones. To help out, we've created a quiz that'll test your knowledge of emoji definitions. Good luck.