Smileys as Substitute for Body Language
Humans and animals alike use body language in communicating. Both use body language to serve different functions.
In the Animal kingdom, animals use body language to communicate. Bees, for example, use dance in patterns to indicate a bountiful source of honey. Soon, other bees follow. A cat can arch its back when threatened to signal that itís ready to strike you with its claws. A dog sets its tail between its legs to indicate fright. A stickle-back fish swims up and down the stream to show contempt to its rival during courtship. Humans, too, use body language to serve different functions. It is very effective in all communications.
During the ancient times, ancient humans used non-verbal language to communicate with their fellow humans. It served them very well in their day to day life. An example of which is when the primitive men hunt for food. When hunting for wild animals like deer, or boar, a group of primitive men used body language. This conveyed their messages to their kin without using a single sound which may scare away the animal. Thus, they could effectively capture their prey.
Even when verbal language was conceived, body language still plays an uncontested role in communication. Body language unveils more than words can, as the saying goes: action speaks louder than words. Words cannot contain all meanings. Body language complements with words effectively. And in some instances, it discloses more meanings than words.
Facial expressions, for example, reveal a lot more than what the person says. Expressions and gestures are honest admissions of what the person feels. Words may conceal meanings, but body language can't. When someone says, I'm happy, yet you can see that his expressions say otherwise, you will have to doubt the words. Most often, you can read more the person's feeling through his expression and body language.
Communicating in the Cyberworld is not as simple as in a face to face encounter. In the cyberworld, you cannot see the person talking and so you cannot read his/her body language. There, you use emails or instant messengers like in Yahoo or MSN, to communicate with the other person. That's why it is a lot more difficult to read through the meanings of what the other person is saying. Thus, it is very fortunate that emotive icons or smileys were invented.
Luckily, smileys can substitute our body language. They can be found as pop ups in menus in emails or Messengers. They allow the sender to communicate body language to the other person even if you cannot see him/her and vice versa. Therefore, you may be able to read through the other person, even if you cannot see him/her.
Smileys vary in functions because each one performs a unique expression. Static smileys express the basic human emotions like affection, anger, sadness, joy, among others. They also express simple actions like hugging, waving of a hand, and kissing. They are useful in this sense. They can substitute our body language so as to communicate ourselves better and more effectively.
With smileys, communication can still be effective even in the cyberworld!