This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

August 6, 2019

Understanding the thumbs up, heart, and laughing out loud emoticons on Facebook

Facebook has always had a way for you to acknowledge that you've seen something that has been posted. It's a little symbol of a hand with the "thumbs up", which means a hearty agreement. Of course, someone may see something posted and want to acknowledge seeing it, without being in hearty agreement, and so a series of "emoticons" were created. An emoticon, by the way, is a combination of the words "emotion" and "icon" and just means a little symbol that shows without words how someone is feeling, such as sad, or happy, or angry, or whatever.

And while there are many emoticons to choose from, most people will select either the traditional thumbs up, or the heart. The heart, which means that you love something, is often used by people on Facebook to let you know that they already know about something in addition to heartily agreeing. An example might be if I post a picture of a flower and say something like "flowers smell good and are pretty". Rather than a thumbs up, which seems to imply that this is new information to the person acknowledging it, they will select the heart.

The laughing out loud emoticon is used when an obviously funny post is created, like a cat jumping at its reflection in the mirror. It's the emoticon equivalent of "LOL", which a lot of people still use, which means that they're "laughing out loud".

Oddly enough, you will see the laughing out loud emoticon on posts that aren't meant to be funny, and if that puzzles you, it's because it's often used to express derision, usually on a controversial subject. If I posted, for example, that dachshunds are the best dogs in the word (an obviously contentious statement), I wouldn't be surprised to see a laughing out loud emoticon from my friends who consider Great Danes to be the best dogs in the world. If you follow me here, they're acknowledging, but not doing a hearty agreement, nor expressing love for dachshunds, they're just laughing (hopefully in a good-natured way) at my statement about dachshunds.

I hope this helps. If you like it, you can give it a thumbs up, or a heart. If you do a laughing out loud emoticon, since this wasn't meant to be funny, I know that you disagree with me.

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