Also, we don’t always stick with the same tone or gender presentation. On average, 73% of participants report picking the same tone every time for self-representation, while 24% regularly swap between two tones. This is usually a color adjacent to their most commonly-used one, but many people report using multiple tones because of changes to their skin tone due to sun, or to align more closely with the skin tones of the audience they are engaging with.
Whether we use emoji skin tones is often related to the situation (e.g. at work vs chatting with family), but people are also reluctant to use these emoji to refer to other people. Many people feel it would be rude to “impose” a skin tone on someone else, especially someone they are not close to. They really are a deeply personal expression of identity.
In the same way we carefully pick our words when sending a formal email 👍🏽 or flirty text 🏿, selecting our skin tone or gender is fluid. By providing faster access to the kind of emoji we need when we need it, our keyboards become a rich canvas for expression. 🏾✨💖