Twitter Launches New Emoji for Users to Express Gratitude — an Emotion on the Rise amid Pandemic

Twitter revealed there was a 50 percent increase in the use of the praying hand emoji

Twitter's new gratitude emoji. Photo: Twitter

They say a picture is worth a thousand words — but according to Twitter, so are certain emoji!

This week, the social networking company announced that they were introducing a new emoji to represent gratitude amid the coronavirus pandemic.

When users send out a tweet using #thankful, #gratitude or other variations of those words, the new emoji of hands making a heart with orange rays radiating from the top will appear alongside the hashtags.

The emoji will also be applied if users tweet those phrases in languages other than English, according to Twitter.

The idea for the emoji came about after Twitter said they noticed an increase in the use of the phrases "grateful" and "thankful for," especially when talking about medical personnel, grocery store employees, cleaning/sanitation workers, family and friends.

Since March 15, around the same time that COVID-19 began to rapidly spread around the U.S. and cause state lockdowns, over 265 million tweets have been sent out using those words — a 37 percent growth in comparison to February's average.

Twitter also noted that there was a 50 percent increase in the use of the praying hand emoji, as well as a 10 percent increase in the clapping hand emoji.

"Who do we see people expressing that gratitude for? The most common word is 'everyone'," the company wrote in a May 12 tweet. "Everyone who is an essential worker. Everyone who has helped. Everyone in healthcare. Everyone who has reached out. Everyone."

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This isn't the first time that Twitter has praised the essential workers who are on the front lines amid the pandemic.

In March, the company encouraged users to tweet hand-clapping emoji "for all the amazing healthcare workers around the world," in honor of World Health Day.

They also tagged a number of celebrities, including Shakira, Mariah Carey, Sam Smith and Ellen DeGeneres, in a follow-up tweet to help "spread the gratitude" for the workers.

As of Thursday, there have been more than 1.4 million cases and at least 85,438 deaths attributed to coronavirus in the United States, according to the New York Times.

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