As part of an exhaustive study of Twitter, part of which I covered here, Bloter has released a series of graphs showing the most commonly used words and characters in the Korean Twittersphere. The good news? Korean Twitterians seem to be a fairly jolly bunch.
Behind the ubiquitous “RT,” ㅋㅋ, the Korean symbol for a cheeky snigger (pronounced something like “ker-ker” with a bit of aspiration) appeared more than 52 million times in Korean Tweets between April 2009 and July 31, 2011. In doing so, it narrowly edged out the slightly more emphatic ㅋㅋㅋ, which had almost 36 million appearances.
Next up, at No. 4, was the first sign of gloom, with ㅠㅠ. Pronounced “yoo-yoo,” this symbol has no actual meaning, but is used to symbolise sadness because of its resemblance to tears falling from eyes. The mirth returned at No. 5 and No. 6, however, with ㅎㅎ (“her-her”) and ㅋ, which clocked up around 22 million and 21 million appearances, respectively.
After that were the Korean words for “me,” “today,” “ah!” “somewhat,” “well,” “too” and “more.” Snuck in among them were the still more emphatic ㅋㅋㅋㅋ and ^^, the latter of which is the equivalent of a Korean smiley face due to its resemblance to two cheerfully raised eyebrows.
An aggregation of the happy and sad symbols once again bore out the apparently cheery nature of Korea’s Twitter users:
But it wasn’t all fun and frivolity. According to Bloter’s research, of the 3 million users to have written more than 10 percent of their Tweets in Korean over the period, some 367,150, around 11 percent, ‘fessed up to having used some kind of profanity in their Tweets. Should you be of a mind to know what those sweary words were, Bloter has helpfully listed them in the article.
Bloter also noted, however, that of the more than 880 million Tweets covered in its study, just 3.2 million or so (0.3 percent) included bad language.