In written forms of communication, smileys or emoticons are used to portray the mood of the message. To make the smiley faces, colons or semicolons are used for the eyes and various letters are used for the mouth to display the emotion. For instance a smiley face with a wink and a smile is a semicolon with a closing parenthesis. Example; ) For a frown a colon with a left hand parentheses. Example: (. A big smile is a colon with a capital D. Example: D
While smileys are made purely of text characters, emoticons are little yellow faces that can be loaded from smileyCentral. Both display emotions to enhance the message of the text.
The acceptance of the smileys for informal and written messages are largely due to the abundance of communications by text messages, message boards and instant messaging (IM).
With the increasing use of the internet and wireless digital telecommunications, the adoption of the smileys has taken prominence. This movement was initiated by the youth and there is probably not a young person out there who does not know the meaning or usage of smileys.
The emotions displayed have evolved from just happiness and sadness to disbelief, anger, playfulness and surprise.
Females use the emoticons much more often than males. This may be due to feeling more comfortable in expressing emotions or they may be more versed in using telecommunication nuance techniques.
Those who criticize the use of emoticons as being detrimental to the depth of human communication do not address the benefits of using them for quicker messages with more intimate text messages.
Smileys have all been figured out and do not have the range of emotions that emoticons can express. The future of these symbols seem to have hit a plateau and the future or more nuanced symbols would require a wider range of symbols for longer text messages.