Lesson 11  Emoticons and Acronyms

      As a new person or "newbie" on the Internet, you'll probably be struck by the fact that a lot of the messages contain odd-looking words (acronyms) and punctuation (emoticons). This is a kind of "shorthand" that Internet users have developed so they can express certain thoughts and emotions without wasting valuable time typing them out.

     One of the problems often cited with e-mail is that you lose the ability to add any feeling to your message. To overcome this limitation, some users add symbols called "emoticons". Emoticons are a very clever use of standard punctuation marks to express a human emotion. When viewed sideways they resemble facial expressions. Here's how they work.

Suppose you're typing a statement such as:

It was great to hear from you.

The problem with this is, the reader cannot be absolutely, 100 percent sure what emotion you're feeling when you type this. So at the end of the sentence, you type a colon followed by a closing parentheses. Now your sentence looks like this:

It was great to hear from you.   :)

See the difference? If you view the symbol sideways, you will see a smiley face. This communicates happiness to your reader!

You can even add a nose to the face:

It was great to hear from you.   :-)

      Here are some common emoticons:

:-) Smiley, happy; also seen as :) or :->; :-@ Yelling, screaming
:-( Sad, displeasure <:-< Mad, upset, angry
8-) Smiley wearing glasses :-/ Perplexed, frustrated
:-D Laughing ;-) A wink; light sarcasm or kidding
:-& Tongue-tied :-| Indifference
:-o Shock, amazement, surprise :^) Smile (profile!)

      In the attempt to save keystrokes, internet users have developed a number of acronym shortcuts. Some of the more common acronyms are listed in the table below. Keep in mind that your recipient may not be savvy to these acronyms if he/she is not a seasoned e-mail user; you may need to explain what they mean the first time.

BTWBy the wayTTFNTa ta for now
TIAThanks in advanceIOWIn other words
IRLIn real lifeITRWIn the real world
LOLLaugh out loudFOFLFall on the floor laughing
ROTFLRoll on the floor laughingYMMVYour mileage may vary
IMHOIn my humble opinionIMNSHOIn my not so humble opinion
or GrinGrin, jokingBGBig grin
VBGVery big grinRTFMRead the flaming manual

You may want to keep a bookmark of the following site which includes not only common e-mail acronyms but many other computer-related terms and abbreviations:   The Dictionary of Computer Acronyms and Jargon

Additional Resources
Visit some of the following sites to see additional lists of emoticons and acronyms:
On-line Emoticons
I Will Follow - E-mail Etiquette
Netiquette Emoticons
The Unofficial Smiley Dictionary
Emoticons by Dave Berry

Assignment WebMail 11 - Emoticons & Acronyms:
     Send an e-mail message to your trainer which includes at least one emoticon and one acronym in the body of the message. Make sure to include the assignment name and number.

Next: Lesson 12 - Sending a Hypertext Link
Previous: Lesson 10 - Attaching a File
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