Oct 142014

2d099a6 - Don't Be So Emotional, It Could Cost You!

Facebook is gradually enlarging its portfolio of “emoticon” stickers, since introducing such features inside the Facebook mobile app last summer. Emoticons make wireless mobile messaging and smartphone conversations more interesting by showing how you feel at the moment.

“I think stickers will allow people to reply to a variety of posts in a more fun way than words alone,” Facebook engineer Bob Baldwin wrote in a Facebook post. “You can now easily show your excitement for a post with good news, cheer up a friend who’s feeling down, and express a variety of more nuanced reactions.”

All of Facebook’s sticker packs are free for now. But, is Facebook heading towards monetizing such features soon? Economic market competition among various online messaging apps is growing exponentially, as consumers are demanding more specialty, even three-dimensional “emoticons” to make their wireless mobile messaging and smartphone chats more expressive. Look for more three-dimensional “emoticons,” as this is the trend going forward, as the messaging software improves significantly on advanced wireless mobile device communications.

Even Skype users are adopting new emoticons in their online chats, says social media watcher and user, Mark Guim. “Skype recently introduced five new “hidden heroes” emoticons based on characters from the blockbuster film, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

“Lurking” inside Skype are five new, limited edition emoticons, include Captain America, the mysterious Winter Soldier, Nick Fury, and Black Widow.

Recent survey of 2,058 respondents among Skype users within the United States and United Kingdom found 57% wanted more new emoticons based on comic book characters. Skype listened and delivered, says Mark Guim.

However, Emoticons could increase your data use in messaging and the associated monthly costs of your smartphone or wireless mobile device significantly.

Technology expert, Chad Hunter, chronicles, “the smiley was first used back in the 1880’s, believe it or not. And in the 1980’s, they were recommended by a user in the early days of internet activity that something was a joke. And, they just grew in popularity.”

“All they are is a combination of punctuation marks such as a colon and a close bracket to show a happy face :),” Hunter explains.

“As sending text messages took off, so did the use of the smiley.”

“How much is a smiley face worth?” Unfortunately, “it can cost [some] smartphone users twice as much to add emotion to their text messages, depending on which punctuation marks are used to construct that happy, sad or angry face,” according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

For instance, mobile texting that uses the bullet point may actually be sending two messages instead of one, including when small picture icons, such as emoticons are sent.

A Melbourne, Australia man, Toby Passauer, discovered the quirk after including a combination of punctuation marks to end his messages with a big-nosed smiley face, like this: =●), reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

”When comparing the bill to my phone, I noticed that [my smart phone provider] was double charging for single texts,” he said. ”I went through the whole bill and found it over and over again. I started noticing a pattern on the messages that were double billed – I had used the bullet point.”

Passauer discovered the bullet point was splitting one long text message into two 70-character messages. Consumers get no warning that some symbols will cut their texts in half, unless they keep a close eye on the character count, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

01d2356 - Don't Be So Emotional, It Could Cost You!

Hunter added: “Smartphones now have a set of pictures (or emoticons) … like this one, for you to use in place of the boring looking old fashioned ones.”

“Most smartphones will show an emoticon,” Hunter warns, “but actually send the text based smiley 🙂 that the phone displays as the emoticon.”

“You need to check what format your message is in before you send it to ensure you don’t get charged for a [picture message] MMS you didn’t want.”

Multimedia Message Service (MMS) is a standard way to send messages that include multimedia content to and from smartphone and wireless mobile devices. It extends the core Short Message Service (SMS) capability, which is a standard for smartphone and wireless mobile device messaging systems that allow exchanging content between mobile devices that consist of short messages, normally with text only content up to 160 characters in length.

Telstra admitted that consumers that used emoticons or smiley faces that contained bullet points could be paying double, because the punctuation was splitting text messages in two, according to the Australian News Service.

Telstra Terms of Service say text messages that contain non-standard characters like bullet points, umlauts and emoticons, and were more than 70 characters in length, would be charged more.

Telstra spokesperson said: “It is not a handset or a phone company rule, but rather the technology used to send messages. We do make this information on how we charge customers for Short Message Service (SMS) available and most phones allow customers to see how long their messages are. The issue reportedly only affects iPhones and Samsung smartphones.”

Emoticon support is built into every iPhone by using the “emoji” keyboard. If you are using iOS version 5 or higher, instructions for enabling “emoji” or “emoticon” can be found here.

Please note that iOS 6 has introduced additional “emoji” characters. In order to send and receive all of the new “emoji” characters of Facebook, you will need to have upgraded your iPhone’s software to iOS 6 or later. Instructions for upgrading your iPhone’s software can be found here.


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