Emoticons no longer have to be anonymous smiley faces representing simple emotions. Facebook Chat now lets you use the profile picture of any user, official Page, or event on the service as an emoticon. That means you can make one out of your best friend, Chuck Norris, Justin Bieber, Barack Obama or anyone else. This opens up a whole new way to express complex emotions. Here’s how to do it:
You can send these custom emoticons from the web or mobile, but they’ll only display as photos on the web. When viewed through a Facebook app or mobile site they appear as their bracketed string. Similarly, you can’t use them in status updates, wall posts, or comments yet. They appear pretty small, but you can hover over the photos to view the username it belongs too. Community Pages, those that aren’t owned by anyone and that display a Wikipedia entry, can’t be used.
Not so excited about other people using you as an emoticon? Tough luck. Profile pictures and usernames are public, so this doesn’t technically violate privacy and there’s no way to opt out of having your face used.
For a long time, Facebook only had one custom smiley. The code :putnam: would show the face of Facebook engineer Chris Putnam. Now you can replace verbs, nouns, and adjectives with whoever represents them best. As our writer John Biggs described yesterday, you can use 4Chan Ragefaces (here are the codes), and Reddit user Sky_Prodigy spawned a thread full of codes for faces and alphabets.
The emoticon has evolved.
Here’s a few ideas for people and Pages you could use as emoticons. Just copy the bracketed text at the end. Have ideas for more? Leave them in the comments and I’ll add the best ones to our list:
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks. The original...