Emoticons are paralinguistic creatures that populate much of the writings done in the virtual space and through mobile devices. Emoticons are meaning-laden and as is the case with any linguistic sign, they are created to serve a specific communicational and expressive purpose. Emoticons are generated and used in conversational written dialogues to account for the absence of those interactional features that characterize face to face interactions: body language and facial expressions.
Emoticons have gained so much in popularity that they've become a commonplace feature of digital conversational language. There are several emoticons for different meanings. The graphic below from Techshortly features some of the most used emoticons online particularly in Facebook. Check it out below