Emoticons made a splash in The New York Times last weekend. A cover story of the Sunday Styles section entitled
“(-: Just Between You and Me ” takes a look at the impact emoticons have had on our culture of communication.
These Starburst-sweet hieroglyphs, arguably as dignified as dotting one’s I’s with kitten faces, have conquered new landscape in the lives of adults, as more of our daily communication shifts from the spoken word to text. Applied appropriately, users say, emoticons can no longer be dismissed as juvenile, because they offer a degree of insurance for a variety of adult social interactions, and help avoid serious miscommunications.
The writer, Alex Williams, doesn’t seem to have the same silly enthusiasm that some of us do for emoticons , but his story is an interesting take on how these small bits of e-culture have even moved off the computer and into our spoken language:
Even grown men on Wall Street, for example, will weave the term “QQ” (referring to an emoticon that symbolizes two eyes crying) into conversation as a sarcastic way of saying “boo hoo.
The article includes some references to our recent Emoticon survey where 40,000 users told us how, when and why they use Yahoo! Messenger’s emoticons. Also included in the article is a picture of emoticon creator, Scott Fahlman, and a handy cheat sheet for some beginner, intermediate and advanced emoticons.
How’s your emoticon IQ? Test yourself with these advanced ones (answers here):