August 5, 2010

Surf’s Up – Internet News

By Chris Cournoyer

Understanding Online Language — Emoticons and Abbreviations Explained

When you speak to someone face-to-face, your body language, the tone of your voice, and your facial expressions reveal a great deal about what you are trying to say. These non-verbal cues can often be more important than the words themselves.

If you have ever had the unfortunate experience of inadvertently offending the recipient of one of your emails (or other online communications) when you were trying to be funny or sarcastic, you can certainly understand how important it is to be very clear with your online

Effective tools for avoiding misinterpretation and achieving a common understanding are in order!With a simple lesson on the use of emoticons (also called Smileys) and abbreviations, you can personalize your written communication and better understand messages that you send and receive.

Wikipedia says that an emoticon is a textual expression representing the face of a writer’s mood or facial expression. Emoticons are often used to alert a responder to the tenor or temper of a statement, and can change and improve interpretation of plain text. The word is a portmanteau of the English words emotion (or emote) and icon. In web forums, instant messengers and online games, text emoticons are often automatically replaced with small corresponding images, which came to be called emoticons as well.

An emoticon is a sequence of ordinary characters you can find on your computer keyboard. Emoticons are used in email, chat, and any other form of communication involving computers. The most popular
emoticons are the smiling faces that people use to say “don’t take what I just wrote too seriously”. If you don’t see that it represents a smiling face, tip your head to the left and look at it again. The colon represents the eyes, the dash represents the nose, and the right parenthesis represents the mouth, as demonstrated here 🙂

Common Emoticons (or Smileys)
While there are no standard definitions for the following emoticons, we have supplied their most usual meanings. Most emoticons will look like a face (eyes, nose, and mouth) when rotated 90 degrees clockwise.

🙂 or 🙂 Expresses happiness, sarcasm, or joke
🙁 or 🙁 Expresses unhappiness
:] or :-] Expresses jovial happiness
:[ or :-[ Expresses despondent unhappiness
😀 or 😀 Expresses jovial happiness
:I or :-I Expresses indifference
:-/ or :-\ Indicates undicided, confused, or skeptical. Also :/ or :\.
:Q or :-Q Expresses confusion
:S or :-S Expresses incoherence or loss of words
:@ or :-@ Expresses shock or screaming
:O or :-O Indicates surprise, yelling or realization of an error (“uh oh!”)

While smileys/emoticons add personality to your messages, abbreviations simply save keystrokes. Some common abbreviations include:
• < BFN > Bye For Now
• < BRB > Be Right Back
• < BTW > By The Way
• < G > Grin
• < HTH > Hope This Helps
• < IJWTK > I Just Want To Know
• < IJWTS > I Just Want To Say
• < IMHO > In My Humble Opinion
• < LOL > Laughing Out Loud
• < OTOH > On The Other Hand
• < ROTFL > Rolling on the Floor Laughing
• < TYVM > thank you very much
• < WYSIWYG > what you see is what you get
• < TOY > Thinking of You
• < YMMV > Your Mileage May Vary

Now go have some fun with it!