These are the little text-based faces and objects that you often see in e-mail and online chat. They help give the reader a sense of the writer's feelings behind the text. For example, the classic =) face shows that the writer is happy about something or that his message in good humor. The =P face is used to show frustration or to say "Whatever..." Emoticons can also be used to create real-world objects. For example, a @-→-→--- is supposed to be a long-stemmed rose, which you can use to show affection. Though I think most women would prefer a real long-stemmed rose if they had a choice.