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Online Trends

Published March 13th 2020

How Do We Express Our Emotions Online?

We share our opinions about all kinds of things online, but we also share how we feel. In our new report, we took a look at the emotional world of the internet: What emotions do we share, and what events spark the most emotion?

Our annual emotions and emojis report is always good fun for the team.

In it, we explore the top used emojis, how we express emotion, and how that plays across different geographies and sectors.

In this blog, we’ll be looking at some of the emotion data from the report – what are the most prominent emotions in online discourse, and what events spark them? For the full analysis, we encourage you to download the free report here.

What emotions do we share online?

For the analysis, we used Brandwatch Consumer Research, which categorizes social mentions by emotion depending on their content. Here are the emotions we studied, ranked by volume:

1. Joy

Joy is the most prominent emotion 😄

Words like “love”, “happy” and “good” are often found in the joyful conversations, and family members and friends are mentioned frequently in joyful messages.

2. Sadness

Sad conversations are usually about missing loved ones.

3. Anger

Work is often mentioned in the angrier conversations. Be it dissatisfaction with colleagues and clients, or getting up early and working overtime, Twitter users make their frustration clear on the platform.

4. Disgust

In the tweets that express disgust, many revolve around food. Twitter authors are vocal in sharing their thoughts on food they don’t like and bad restaurant experiences.

5. Fear

When it comes to fear, many comment on events happening the next day, like exams or interviews.

6. Surprise

The most commonly used term for surprised statements is “wow”, and many of the tweets containing this word relate to big soccer games or TV shows like America’s Got Talent.

Surprise is the least common emotion to be expressed online, which makes sense – if surprises happened every day they wouldn’t be surprises!

What events spark the most online emotion?

Let’s take a look at some of the most emotional events of 2019.


Overall, Christmas was the most joyful time of the year, but the holiday that caused the highest peak in joyful conversations in a day was Valentine’s Day. This was followed by Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve.


Angry tweets were pretty consistent over the year, but the events that caused the highest peaks were when social media platforms went down and people complained. For example, on March 13 and July 3, Instagram and Facebook were down.


The saddest moments of 2019 came when popular figures in the music industry passed away.


The start of the impeachment trials against Trump (12/16) caused the highest peak in disgusted conversations and the second highest peak was caused by the the victory of the Conservative party in the UK General Election (12/13).


Halloween was the most “fearful” event, due to the spooky nature of the holiday. In fact, people began to chat about spooky Halloween ideas in early October!


The most surprising event was the Champions League semifinal.  The surprise was largely due to the fact that in an international tournament, two English teams came out on top.

Extensive analysis: Global Emotions Report 2020

For more insights, read our extensive Emotions Report and learn:

  • The most used emojis
  • The most common emotions online
  • The most emotional events of 2019
  • Negative vs. positive conversations
  • Industries and emotions
  • The brands that create the most joy
  • Lessons for brands

You can read the report here for free.

Special thanks to Michaela Vogl for her analysis work

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Global Emotions Report 2020

When we understand the emotions of our customers, we can better cater to their needs. What does the emotional landscape look like online? And what industries/brands come out on top?.

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