Sunday, July 6, 2008

What's an emoticon exactly

New age internet lingo has often popped us new words which we don't find in traditional dictionary. One of these new age words is emoticon. But what's an emoticon exactly.


An emoticon is a version of shorthand developed by Internet users to help express emotions and thoughts without typing out the words. One dictionary definition of emoticons says that they . . . "are a very clever use of standard punctuation marks to express a human emotion."
When we communicate face to face, non-verbal communication, such as body language, facial expressions and tone of voice plays a crucial part in how someone interprets what we say. Emoticons allow us to personalize and put non-verbal communication into our written messages, to create e-mail moods. The key to communication is language; the emotion allows people to express feelings quickly and effectively through written word.

Origin of Emoticons

The origin of the original emoticon, the basic smiley face :-), is a matter of some dispute. Kevin Mackenzie is often credited with creating the first emoticon as the "tongue in cheek" symbol in 1979.

Others point to Scott Fahlman, who created the first digital smiley face and the first virtual frown in 1982. These were the first smiley faces that were not simply made of keyboard characters. In the 1980s, Howard Ball created a different form of the digital smiley face, the yellow upright smiley face that can now be downloaded off the Internet. Howard Ball is a graphic artist who created the first smiley as part of a morale boosting campaign.

Varied Emoticons

There are basic emoticons and smileys used in email messages to express emotions. Many people use Emoticons, they are a very popular form of shorthand for portraying emotions within email or instant messaging. There are thousands of emoticons located on the Internet and more are being created everyday. Here are a few of the more commonly used emoticons:

The classic smiley face (happy, grin)


The simpler variation


The frown (unhappy)

>:-< Mad or angry

:-o Surprise or shock

:-D Laughing or very happy

:-@ Screaming or shouting

;-) Smile with a wink (joking, kidding, or sarcasm

How to Create and Understand Emoticons

Emoticons are made through the use of different combinations of numbers, letters and punctuation symbols that are found on a standard computer keyboard. There are hundreds and even thousands of emoticons that have been created. Emoticons have been created to represent almost everything, for example:

*<:-) Santa Claus

:---) Pinocchio

8-) Wearing sunglasses

+<:-) The Pope

C=:-) Chef

*<):0) Clown

?:^[] Jim Carrey

5:-) Elvis

:-.) Cindy Crawford

%-) A Happy Drunk

Emoticons created by keyboard characters are not always obvious when viewed horizontally. To see the face instead of just a string of different symbols, you need to tilt your head to the left, so that the right side of the emoticon becomes the bottom. Newer software packages allow users to use small images instead of a string of keyboard characters.

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