Emoticons

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  • Topic: Emoticon, ASCII, ASCII art
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  • Published : September 2, 2008
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An emoticon is a symbol or combination of symbols used to convey emotional content in written or message form. The word is a portmanteau of the English words emotion (or emote) and icon. The National Telegraphic Review and Operators Guide in April 1857 documented the use of the number 73 in Morse code to express "love and kisses" (later reduced to the more formal "best regards"). Dodge's Manual in 1908 documented the reintroduction of "love and kisses" as the number 88. Gajadhar and Green comment that both Morse code abbreviations are more succinct than modern abbreviations such as LOL. Typographical emoticons were published in 1881 by the U.S. satirical magazine Puck. In 1912 Ambrose Bierce proposed "an improvement in punctuation — the snigger point, or note of cachinnation: it is written thus \___/! and presents a smiling mouth. It is to be appended, with the full stop, [or exclamation mark as Bierce's later example used] to every jocular or ironical sentence". Emoticons had already come into use in sci-fi fandom in the 1940s, although there seems to have been a lapse in cultural continuity between the communities. An early instance of using text characters to represent a sideways smiling (and frowning) face occurred in an ad for the MGM movie Lili in the New York Herald Tribune, March 10, 1953, page 20, cols. 4-6. (See "Creation of :-) and :-(" section below.) In 1963 the "smiley face", a yellow button with two black dots representing eyes and an upturned thick curve representing a mouth, was created by freelance artist Harvey Ball. It was realized on order of a large insurance company as part of a campaign to bolster the morale of its employees and soon became a big hit. This smiley presumably inspired many later emoticons; the most basic graphic emoticon that depicts this is in fact a small, yellow, smiley face. In a New York Times interview in April 1969, Alden Whitman asked writer Vladimir Nabokov: "How do you rank yourself among writers (living) and of...
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