Some people love them. Some people hate them. Most people don't understand them, yet many people use them anyway.
While this could describe cellphones, I'm actually talking about emoticons. Even this program thinks it's a misspelled word. Fortunately, there is plenty of information online to give you the background on these wacky characters.
There is somewhat of a dispute as to exactly when emoticons were invented, but as usual, Wikipedia gives an in-depth history. According to the site, an ad for the movie "Lili" on March 10, 1953, in the New York Herald Tribune featured this:
You'll laugh :)
You'll cry :(
It's too bad the heart is facing the wrong way, and it reminds me of a double scoop of ice cream, but that might just be because I'm hungry. Apparently the smiley face we know today -- which is :-) -- was proposed September 19, 1982. Now we have numerous emoticons that are available for use. Some are more well-known than others, like :-| (unsure), ;-) (wink) and :-s (confused).
If you have seen my book, "The Developers," you have probably noticed the emoticons that grace the front cover (if you haven't noticed them, and are still staring at the cover looking for the 3-D picture, you won't find it). Do they have a meaning? Actually, yes, they do.
>:¢ (Katy) It's difficult to tell sometimes whether or not Katy is too busy to be happy or is grumpy because she's busy.
@:) (Matt) While Matt is still in the process of growing his business, he feels he has already made it successful and quite an accomplishment.
>:P (Kevin) Kevin is very rarely serious. Usually when he is, everyone still thinks he's cynical.
>8. (Drew) Between working a million hours, spending time with his wife and calling bingo, Drew most likely qualifies as the busiest of The Developers.
:D (Sarina) Most everything seems amusing to Sarina, which may explain how she has always had a crush on Richard Simmons.
You'll notice that scattered throughout the book, there are short emoticon equations, which might be something I created. Without knowing the purpose of the equations, a reader probably has absolutely no idea what they mean. The lines correlate with particular parts of the book and tell the mini-stories that the characters are experiencing. In the future, I will reveal the meanings of the equations. Until then, read up on emoticons and the owner's manual for your cellphone.