Anyone who has every chatted online is familiar with emoticons. Emoticons are those cute faces or images that one sends to another in a chat. Emoticons are defined as a representation of a facial expression such as a smile or frown, which is made using keyboard characters.
Emoticons are mainly used to express the user’s feelings or emotions. In fact, the term “emoticon” is a portmanteau, i.e. combination of the words emotion and icon. An emoticon is also known as a smiley.
Emoticons were first made popular as text emoticons, which were made using punctuation marks, letters or numbers, such as :) or ^_^ or ?? or <3. As seen these emoticons were commonly sideways to the text. However, as the technology improved, these marks are now automatically converted to their corresponding images.
Emoticons have gained widespread popularity because they allow one to communicate more effectively on the interweb. Emoticons allow one to express tone, emotion and feeling through facial gestures inbetween a conversation, similar to how one would normally do through body language.