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In fact emoticons are often generically referred to as "smileys".
They are made out of common punctuation and other typeable characters.
Channel names usually begin with a "#", as in #irchelp .
A channel is not necessarily shared among all IRC servers.
You need free ICQ software to do this - but chatting to your friends may be more satisfying than chatting to people you don't know.For instance the two symbols "colon" followed by "right bracket" express happiness because together they look like a pair of eyes and a smiley mouth :) Some IRC programs such as Messenger will actually convert your emoticon into a small cartoon when you send your message.There is a small and grumpy section of the on-line community who find them irritating - they feel you should be able to convey your feelings in words, without resorting to symbols. Other linguists argue that it is a major leap forward in language and communication - to be able to communicate feelings without using words.As time passes the large window below fills up with text entries.Things move fast in IRC and can be confusing at first.