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Electronic Mail Emoticons (Smilies) & Shorthand (Abbreviations)

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by Kass Johns (originally written 12/96 for http://www.kassj.com)

Here are the commonly used abbreviations, and emoticons used to convey emotion or tone when conversing in text-only messages.

Email Abbreviations

You all know:
FYI = For Your Information
ASAP = As Soon As Possible
and probably
SWAK = Sealed With A Kiss

These are nothing more than shorthand for commonly used phrases. Well, these are no different, just a few more (in alphabetical order)...

AFAIK = As Far As I Know
AFK = Away From the Keyboard (to let someone know you stepped away for a moment while live chatting)
AOL = America OnLine
BTW = By The Way
CIS = CompuServe Information Service
FAQ = Frequently Asked Questions (This file is a common staple in most newsgroups and forums. Always refer to the FAQ before you ask your question. It likely has already been answered in the FAQ.)
FWIW = For What It's Worth
FYA = For Your Amusement
GA = Go Ahead (as in live chat when you want to let the other speaker know it is their turn)
GIGO = Garbage In, Garbage Out
IMO = In My Opinion
IMHO = In My Humble Opinion
IMNSHO = In My Not So Humble Opinion
IOW = In Other Words
KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid
LOL = Laughing Out Loud
OTOH = On The Other Hand
ROFL = Rolling On The Floor Laughing
ROFLOL = Rolling On The Floor Laughing Out Loud
RSN = Real Soon Now (as in, when the company will release the new version of their software)
RTM = Read The Manual (Actually, this is the polite contraction of RTFM--you guess what the F stands for.)
TIA = Thanks In Advance (used to thank someone up front when you ask for help with something)
TPTB = The Powers That Be
TTFN = Ta Ta For Now
WYSIWYG = What You See Is What You Get
<g> = small grin
<G> = big grin
<VBG> = Very Big Grin
<ggg> = giggling
<weg> = wicked, evil grin
<gd&r> = grinning, ducking & running (as in just saying something sarcastic)
<gd&rvf> = grinning, ducking & running very fast
<gd&rvvf> = grinning, ducking & running very, very fast (and so on)

There are more of these abbreviations, but these are the most common ones. You will find that most of your corespondents will use a core set of these.


Emoticons (Emotion Icons) or Smilies

These may look like gibberish, but they are just a simple way to indicate a smiley face with emotion. Since we are limited to text, we cannot draw a smiley or a frowny.

Tilt your head to the left to see these faces, usually used at the end of a sentence to indicate an emotion. See that the basic smiley is a colon (the eyes), a hyphen (the nose) and a close parenthesis (the mouth). If you still cannot see it, ask one of your kids to show you. :-)

:-) = smiley. The basic smiley, some use the :) without the hyphen "nose" as a short smiley
;-) = winking
;-* = wink with a kiss
:-* = kiss
:-D = laughing or big grin
:-( = frowning
;-( = crying
:-O = look of surprise/shock
:-P = pfffftt (giving someone the raspberry) or just sticking your tongue out at someone

These are the basics. Once you become well-versed in this shorthand and email, you can then experiment in the silly emoticons that fill books and articles. Although, hardly anyone uses those daily. A few of these follow.

Here are three that I use on occasion:

:-/ = whatever
:-\ = whatever
:-| = I call this one, "Have a Day"

And here are a few very goofy ones for people with nothing better to do with their time:

*<:-) = wearing a ski cap with tassel
O:-) = an angel
:-)) = person with a double chin
}:-) = man with a toupee
B-) = someone wearing sunglasses (looks like Batman or Robin to me)
O-) = someone wearing a scuba mask

See, I told you they were silly! If you _really_ want to know more about these, get a book from your local bookstore on Smilies. I know that Peachpit Press has one, as does O'Reilly & Associates.


More Email Netiquette and Novice Information:

[ Email Netiquette ]

[ CyberMyths Debunked ]

[ Don't use AOL's "Forward" Command ]

[ Emoticons (Smilies) & Shorthand (Abbreviations) ]

[ Stop The Junk Email! ]

[ Programmer's Paradise Glossary ]

© Copyright 1996-2001 by Kass Johns, all rights reserved world wide.
The opinions and recommendations stated here are solely those of the author and are not the responsibility of anyone else. This is an independent publication not affiliated or otherwise associated with, sponsored by, or sanctioned by any vendor. We state here that we have used trademark names in this publication for editorial purposes only, with no intent to infringe on those trademarks. Permission is granted to copy this document for personal use only for *non-commercial* purposes, in electronic or printed form, provided that this copyright notice is not removed. This work may not be used on another Web site or online service, sold for profit, included within commercial works, or altered or changed in any way without the express written permission of the author.



© Copyright 1996-2001 v.7.5.00
Kass Johns
Technical Writer & Consultant to the Publishing & Telecommunications Industries
Colorado Springs, CO • www.kassj.com • 719/635-1306 (vc)
kass at kassj dot com

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