What are Emoticons

Emoticons are popular selections of graphic media that is currently used in chat software. These graphics are commonly used by people in order to relay the feelings they have at that given moment. A good example of these graphics would be the so-called "Smileys", wherein it is placed within the text as an indication the user is "happy". Hence, other groups of characters are also available in order to form a specific image. The technology behind emoticons was derived from the previous tactic of individuals who used specific letters, punctuations, and/or numbers in order to display a graphical representation of a particular emotion.

This becomes possible when these characters are placed one after the other. Similar to the "Smileys" emoticon we have now, the most common example of this, previously, would be the smiling face. This is via pressing the colon, dash, and the right parenthesis, which would appear like this - . These days, there are already various types of emoticons. Such emoticons can now convey various feelings such as anger, sadness, and indifference. It would range from "Smileys" to popular cartoon characters.

Utilizing these emoticons is very easy since you are initially provided with the list of pictures and characters. You only need to select the picture that best describes your feelings at that specific moment. You can find comprehensive lists of emoticons on Web forums and IM applications. Good programs where you can access these lists while you chat with your friends and loved ones would be through Yahoo Messenger, Skype, and Google Talk among others. Moreover, although emoticons are very useful is emphasizing the emotions behind your messages, it is best that you practice using these emoticons properly.

It is important that you consider using these symbols or characters in a way that you do not overuse them. Thus, there are also emoticon characters that can imply sarcasm, rudeness, intimidation or anger. Even if you can convey these emotions through emoticons, chatting etiquettes would prompt you to avoid using these on your messages.

Of course, emoticons serve the purpose of relaying one's emotions and not as a means to hurt other people's feelings.

Robert Spencer writes on topics such as Emoticons , Animated Emoticons and Free Animated Emoticons for The Tech FAQ.

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