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(also emoji, pictograph, smiley, ideograms)

Emoticon definition

Emoticon is a small icon that represents a wide range of concepts, including feelings and symbols within a text message. Emoticons are widely used in various forms of electronic communication. They have spread from social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to enterprise tools like Slack. Visual and logical sizes of emoticons vary between cell operators. However, they are commonly drawn on a 12 x 12 pixel area, taking 2 bytes of space when communicated. There are 176 emoji characters/symbols to choose from in their base form, with an extra 76 available on phones supporting C-HTML 4.0. Emoticon works with Gmail and can be used on most new smartphones, including the iPhone and Windows Phones.

Functions of emoticons:

  • They introduce humor within a text message.
  • People can express themselves more with their usage.
  • Communication beyond words, often to emphasize a point in a text.

Benefits of using emoticons:

  • A better way to connect with people. Emoticons appeal to digital users but also help companies make online engagement more “human.“ Companies utilize emojis to replicate face-to-face conversations.
  • Improve communication. It’s hard to tell the tone of a smartphone message or social media post. Emoticons provide context and show a person’s feelings when typing.
  • Drive responses. Emoticons typically elicit responses from others. Emoji “reactions“ on several social networking platforms enable users to express their feelings without words.
  • Demonstrate personality. Emoticons add a lighthearted dimension to businesses in a world where consumers have a hard time trusting impersonal firms.

Real-life examples:

  • In 1995, Le Monde announced Alcatel’s BC 600 phone introduction. Its “welcome message“ was a computerized smiling face instead of text.
  • In 1999, NTT DoCoMo’s I-mode mobile platform Shigetaka Kurita produced 176 emojis. They were meant to simplify electronic communication and make the service distinguishable.
  • In 2001, The Smiley Company (a brand licensing company that holds the rights to the “smiley face”) released The Smiley Dictionary. The desktop platform lets people write and email with emoticons. The MSN Messenger smiley toolbar had many symbols and smileys.

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