What Are Emoticons?

The term itself might be a bit confusing for those who do not regularly deal with these little characters. It is a fusion of the words “emotion” and “icon” and is used to denote a combination of keyboard characters that represent a face in various stages of _expression. We are all familiar, of course, with the smiley face, but did you know that you can also express your upset and even frustration with these little characters?

Emoticons are part and parcel of emails, instant messages, and also chat room conversations. Many times the interactions online between people – especially those who may have never met face to face – are complicated by the very fact that these people do not have the privilege of understanding the nuances of one another’s speech patterns, and without facial expressions and body language to soften a statement or emphasize a comment, communication can often be misunderstood.

Emoticons are a small way of helping in the struggle to be understood. Granted, they still do not smooth the waters over all kinds of online misunderstandings, but they do help people to understand each other better. As time progressed, these emoticons have evolved into little gifs which are big on message boards. They explain even more accurately how somebody is feeling, and may even prompt the readers to respond in a certain way. So go ahead and have some fun online with these little emoticons, and next time when you post a message, why not use one or more of them to not only clarify your feelings, but to give a bit of light-hearted leverage to your communication?

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