E-Mail "Body Language"

(from Interface, April 1991, p. 13; found by Jon Aske)

Electronic mail, or e-mail, often reduces communications to the lowest common denominator in terms of text presentation (that is, limited characters, no illustrations). Although often used for personal communications, e-mail is a highly impersonal medium; one cannot experience the more complete range of understanding that results from face-to-face contact with an individual. Body language is absent... or is it?

The evolving e-mail culture has devised its own form of body language; the only requirement: you must tilt your head sideways to appreciate the sometimes subtle, always ingenious, and often outrageous uses of standard keyboard characters to convey what text alone cannot.

The accompanying chart is offered for your "viewing pleasure," with the hope that it will help personalize your e-mail messages and create better communications between those of you who depend on the effective use of the medium. Use at your own risk!

"Face" Interpretation              Alternative Interpretation(s)

:-)    Ha, ha; smile               "This is supposed to make you
(-:    Submitter is left-handed
|-)    Hee, hee                    Submitter is asleep (out of
|-D    Ho, ho
:-D    Submitter talks too much    Wider happy/anticipatory face
:->    Hey, hey; smirk
:-(    Boo hoo; disappointed       "That comment makes me sad (or
                                   mad)!"  "Be prepared for
:-<    Really sad
:-C    Really disappointed
:-|    Hmmm; contemplation         Boring
:-O    Uh oh!
:-o    Submitter is shocked.       Submitter is singing

#:-o   "Oh, nooooo!" (Remember
       Mr. Bill??)
:-p    Nyah, nyah!                 Submitter is sticking tongue
|-P    Yuck!
:-}    Submitter has beard.        Normal smiling face with
                                   pretty lips.
:-{    Submitter has mustache.
:-#    Submitter wears braces.     Submitter s lips are sealed.
                                   Submitter has been punched in
                                   the mouth!
:-)X   Submitter wears bow tie.
:-X    "My lips are sealed!"
:-Q    Smoker
<:-)   Dunce; dumb questions
8-)    Submitter wears glasses     "I couldn t believe my eyes!"
B-)    Submitter wears horn-       A message from Batman.
       rimmed glasses.
8:-)   Submitter with glasses      Submitter is a little girl.
       on forehead
;-)    Wink                        "Take this message with a
                                   grain of salt!"
>:-<   Submitter is mad.
:-@    Submitter is screaming
:-8(   Condescending stare
:-[    Biting criticism
:-\    Undecided                   "That comment doesn't phase
|-]    Grimace                     "If I close my eyes tight,
                                   maybe it will go away."
:-U    Sarcasm                     Speaking out of the side of
                                   one's mouth.

More Emoticons

Found by Deborah Milam Berkley, from Wall Street Journal 1994, "A story of the type that turns heads in computer circles", by Michael W. Miller. His sources: A "smiley dictionary" circulating on computer bulletin boards, and "Dvorak's Guide to PC Telecommunications."

:-D       I'm laughing

B-)       I'm cool

:-,       I'm drunk

:-'|      I have a cold

{(:-)     I have a toupee

}(:-(     I have a toupee and it's windy.

7:^]      I resemble Ronald Reagan

:-8       I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth

=|:-)=    I'm Uncle Sam

From the sidebar of the same article, entitled "Sidelong remarks that may interest propellerheads 8(:-) ". (Attributed to the collection of David Sanderson of Madison, Wisc.)

8(:-)     propellerhead (see sidebar title)

:-)-O     smiling doctor with stethoscope

:'(       I'm crying

:-=       my lips are sealed

:-&       I'm tongue-tied

%-)       I'm cross-eyed

':-)      I accidentally shaved off one eyebrow

(-)       I need a haircut

(:)-)     I'm scuba-diving

*<|:-)    I'm Santa Claus

+-(:-)    I'm the Pope

:-)))     I'm overweight

=:-)      I'm a punk rocker

:-J       I'm being tongue-in-cheek

5:-)      I'm Elvis

L:-)      I just graduated

[:-)      I'm wearing a Walkman

d:-)      I'm a baseball player

O-)       I'm Cyclops

:8)       I'm a pig

3:-o      I'm a cow

:=8)      I'm a baboon

(,'%/     I slept too long on one side

:-)>-     I just washed my goatee

:-Q       I'm smoking

:-?       I'm smoking a pipe

:-'       I'm chewing tobacco

:-E       I have dental problems

:-o       I'm bored (yawn)

:-{}      I have heavy lipstick

C|:-=     I'm Charlie Chaplin

|:['      I'm Groucho Marx

<<<<(:-)  I'm a hat salesman

:%)%      I have acne

(=>:*'))  I'm a drunk demonic chef with a cold and a double chin