Smiley Faces and Emoticons
A smiley face (also called a smiley or emoticon) is used in text-based communications to convey an emotion. Learn how to make text smiley faces in this Webopedia chat guide.
Use a Smiley Face to Show Emotion in Text Messages and Online Chat
A smiley face (also called a smiley or emoticon) is used in text-based communications to convey an emotion, much in the same way we use body language. Text smiley faces are used in the same way that a person's voice or facial expression changes when having a face-to-face conversation with someone.
For example, if you were joking with someone and sent a text message saying GAL (meaning "get a life") the person receiving your message would think you are making a rude comment. If you send the same message with a happy text smiley face : ) following the text abbreviation, the person would understand you were smiling when you sent the message (meaning you were joking with them). In a face-to-face communication you would laugh or really smile to convey the "I'm joking around or kidding with you" emotion.
When you use smiley faces, you basically are showing emotions through characters in text messaging helps the receiver correctly interpret your intent and meaning.
Related Webopedia.com Guides:
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2. Smiley Faces and Emoticons
3. Online Auction and Classified Ad abbreviations
4. Online Personals Abbreviations
5. Twitter Chat Dictionary
6. Guide to Forum Etiquette
7. How to Text a Cellphone From a Computer
How to Make Smiley Faces
To create a smiley face you use standard keyboard characters and punctuation marks in sequences that look like facial expressions might. When viewing text smiley faces, they are all sideways. Here are some basics to get you started with understanding what different characters used in smiley faces mean:
From Text Smiley Faces to Graphical Emoticons
Some chat and instant message programs will automatically translate text smiley faces into graphical emoticons. In AOL Instant messenger (AIM), for example, if you type out the characters to make a "happy face" followed by "sad face" followed by "cool sunglasses" you would enter the following characters:
:) :( 8-)
Once you've entered the text in to your AIM chat window and hit enter to send the text message, AIM converts the text face to a graphic face (emoticons) if it can recognize the smiley pattern. What you see on the screen in your AIM chat window will look like this:
This is how the emoticons would appear in your AIM chat window:
Smiley Faces and Their Meaning
Here are few examples of different smiley faces and their meanings. You can send any number of text faces or text images to help you convey an emotion when you text message or online text chat with people.
Based in Nova Scotia, Vangie Beal is has been writing about technology for more than a decade. She is a frequent contributor to EcommerceGuide and managing editor at Webopedia. You can tweet her online @AuroraGG.
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