Have you ever received an email or instant message that had one of those smiley faces in it? You know, the ones made using a colon, a dash, and an end parenthesis?
That’s an emoticon. “Emoticons”, short for “emotional icons” are textual or pictorial representations of facial expressions that are created by using punctuation, letters, and/or numbers. Traditionally the symbols were pretty simple and retained their text formatting on both the sending and receiving side of the message.