A smiley is a symbol used in text communications to convey an emotion with a message. People use a smiley face in text messages in the same way voice changes and facial expressions are used in face-to-face or telephone conversation. For example, if you were joking with someone and send a text message of “Idiot!” the person receiving your message may think you are making a rude comment to them. If you send the same message with a “happy smiley” : ) following, the person would then understand you were smiling (or joking around) when you said that, and not misinterpret your intent.
To create a smiley you use your standard keyboard characters and punctuation marks. When viewing a text smiley face they are all sideways. A smiley can also be called an emoticon or an emoji, a small picture used on electronic devices to convey emotion or represent an object or symbol.