Articles about Smileys and Emoticons

From :-) to Animated Smileys

Do you know how smileys developed from simple graphic emotive icon (emoticons) to complex virtual ones? This article wishes to answer this question.

Smileys started from a simple graphic icon like this :-). It was first used by Scott Fahlman on September 19, 1982 at Carnegie Mellon University. Scott used the graphic emoticon on Computer Science Bulletin Board to indicate that the message was not to be taken that serious. Or if used in more serious issues discussed on the bulletin board, it would indicate that you ought to take it lightly and in a more positive outlook. It was also used to indicate a joke. Scott also used the emotive icon :-( to denote a serious tone to the message.

The emotive icon :-) in the western style is just a combination of ASCII characters- a colon, a dash and a close parenthesis. The colon represents the eyes, the dash for the nose, and a close parenthesis for the mouth. Scott also invented the winking smiley that look exactly like this ;-).

As time progresses, the meanings of these two most primitive emoticons have developed variations. :-) was used not just to show a not-so-serious tone or a joke. It was also used to indicate pleasure or happiness. :-( has also developed variations in meanings. It also indicated sadness and displeasure.

Several months after, people started to see variations of the two primitive smileys. Similar emoticons have developed like =] or :). The dash was omitted. They were similar to the :-) emotive icon. The frown icon :-( also developed variations. Included were :( , =( or D: . Sometimes o is substituted for the dash, like in :o(.

Since then, some people started inventing different emotive icons expressing distinct emotions. These were still graphic and ASCII characters in nature. Below are a few examples:

X8 laughing hard
:-/ slight frown
:-O shocked
:-( start to cry
>:-O very angry, yelling
:-] just kidding
:-*) Blushing

The above are just a few of the created variations of emoticons. There are endless possibilities for smiley icons because of the creativity of the people who invent and collect graphic smileys.

After sometimes, when graphic smileys began to be popular among internet users, Microsoft and AOL adopted the use of smileys. They altered the graphic appearance of smileys and turned them into small yellow face-like images. Unknown to the general public, these small face-like icons were initially crafted by an artist named Harvey Ball. Mr. Harvey became the renowned inventor of the static smiley images.

The static smiley images rapidly proliferated in instant messages and in emails. They became part of the pop-up menus in messengers such as YM and MSN and in menus of Electronic mails. They have become so popular that the demands for smileys grew high. This led to the development of animated or virtual smileys.

Virtual Smileys were produced to answer this demand. Virtual Smileys can do more complex man-like movements than the static yellow images. Virtual smileys not only mimic human emotions. They can walk, dance, sing, play musical instruments, and play games, among others. They are the latest lineage of the Smiley clan.


More articles about Smileys and Emoticons

The World of Smileys

What makes a yellow Smiley Face so popular?

Smileys as Substitute for Body Language

Smiley Invasion

From :-) to Animated Smileys

Animated Smileys, MSN Emoticons and Smilies