What is the difference between Memes and Emoticons?

Emoticons are the nonverbal cues that accompany or replace speech. Often, these emoticons can be seen in text messages or chat rooms. Memes are cultural symbols or social ideas that are transmitted from one brain to another through speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena. The internet hallmarks memes as pictures with funny captions that circulate rapidly throughout the web.


A meme is a unit of cultural information which may be transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.

– It consists of an idea and a replicator (for example, a tune) acting as its vehicle, which propagates the information content because it possesses some advantages over competing tunes.

– Memes are ideas that spread around the internet.

– Memes are humorous specially from Meme Scout, often satirical pictures with phrases or funny pictures accompanied by captions, which rapidly circulate throughout the internet.

– An example of a meme is an image of Grumpy Cat, called “Grumpy Cat”, which includes text describing what the cat is thinking.


– Emoticon use in text messages and other Internet communications began as early as 1979 but did not become popular until after 2000.

– An emoticon is a facial expression pictorially represented through keyboard characters to express user feelings (e.g., happy, sad) or their personal opinions (e.g., kidding).

– used to soften the tone of a message

– A smiley face:

🙂 Or 🙂 are examples of emoticons.

– They are usually seen in text messages, posts, comments, chartrooms, email, blogs etc.


Emoticons are pictures that express an emotion or describe the opinions of the writer. The word emoticon was first used in 1984 by Scott Fahlman, who worked for Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Computer Science. He posted a comment on an online bulletin board called “board” to give users clues about his sarcastic tone when responding to serious posts. Many people responded positively to this idea and began to use it regularly. Soon after, emoticons became widespread on the web as many websites began using them around 1999-2000. Emoticons can be seen today everywhere including text messages, social media sites, chatrooms etc. With their popularity over the internet growing over time, emoticons have also evolved into types of emojis.

Emoticons can also be read as a well-kept secret, side joke or meaning only understood by a select few people. For example : ) means “I am happy” but if you look at it from another angle, it could mean “I have a knife behind my back”. Emoticons are now commonly used in mobile phones and other technology to express feelings or opinions about situations or events that users may see as interesting or otherwise noteworthy. Another use of emoticons is to soften the tone of messages sent between friends instead of using rude words which can cause misunderstanding.

Memes are internet symbols that are transmitted from one brain to another through verbal speech, gestures, rituals etc. They consist of an idea or concept and a replicator that acts as its vehicle, which propagates the information because it possesses some advantages over competing ideas. Memes are often humorous images with captions or phrases spreading around the internet. One example of a meme is an image of Grumpy Cat called “Grumpy Cat”, which includes text describing what the cat is thinking.


Just as memes are analogous to genes, which replicate themselves across generations, emojis are analogous to species. Just as species evolve over time into new variants, there are notable variations in the construction of each emoji. Your phone may not support a certain emoji variant that your friend’s Messages app supports on his/her iPhone. This simply means that you have never seen or are unaware of its existence because the sender has decided not to use it. However, despite being invariant in appearance between platforms, an image is still understood universally by recognizing what it represents based on cultural context. Emoticons help demonstrate this phenomenon since they can mean different things depending on the polarization of viewpoints. It just takes practice for users to understand how emoticons are used. Emoticons are all about meaning conveyed through context rather than the codes, which display them.

Emojis on the other hand help to create or build pictures that represent mnemonic devices, which make it easier for people who speak different languages to understand each other. These universal images can be used as language learning tools for those communicating cross-culturally and provide an alternative method of communication when verbal speech is restricted like in case of deaf persons or users without voice such as those using online chat rooms, text messages etc. The history behind emojis traces back to the Japanese mobile phone platforms in 2001 and later spread to other countries where there was high demand for pictorial language.

Both emoticons and memes have been increasing in popularity due to their use on social media and websites such as Tumblr and Reddit. While emoticon usually express feelings or opinions about situations or events that users may find interesting, memes usually consist of humorous pictures accompanied by text describing what the picture is expressing; however they can also be seen as well-kept secrets among friends using online chatrooms, text messages etc.


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