In just over a month emoticons will turn 31 years old. Yes, those smiley face characters we all overuse on text messages have been around longer than, well, text messaging! Katy Perry is celebrating early with the release of her new music video for “Roar.” The kitschy pop video features emoticons (emotional icons) as the device to illustrate the lyrics of her song.
In the video we see Katy texting in all kinds of typical texting places: her bedroom, her car, at the gym, on the toilet. Her friends respond to her texts with lyrics of the song, but in place of words an appropriate emoticon is used.
“I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath.” =
Scott Fahlman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University is credited with inventing the emoticon in 1982. Professor Fahlman was a moderator for an online bulletin board and within the board’s guidelines for posting he instructed, “I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: Read it sideways.”
AOL instant messenger evolved the character-based smilies into actual faces, and Skype and Apple evolved those faces into other images and symbols. I know I use eleventy billion emoticons a week in text messages with my coworkers, friends, and my mom. The emoticons I use the most often are: thumbs up, kiss, wink, poop, and the red telephone (which obviously means: CALL ME!)
I feel like emoticons are having a comeback. Once they were considered a big eye roll, probably because of their overuse as we all figured out just what the heck they were for, but now I love using them with friends to convey emotional responses quickly and easily. Instead of typing out, “This makes me so happy to hear!” I can respond back with a ” :)”.
What do you think about emoticons these days? Are you using them? And which ones are you using the most?
Image Credit: Still from Katy’s video, PR Photos
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