Emoticons are graphical representations of emotions or other ideas composed of letters or other writing symbols; they are popular in text messages. For example, the emoticon :) resembles a smiling face turned sideways.
The earliest digital emoticons originated when computer could only send text. Emoticon pioneers would use smiling and frowning faces, among others, to express emotion when sending messages. While ASCII-based emoticons are generally sideways, Japanese emoticons, which are based on Japan's large alphabets, typically align horizontally. Japan is also the source of another text messaging phenomenon, the emoji. Emoji are actual graphical images standardized by the Unicode Consortium. Many text messaging programs automatically convert emoticons to emoji.