a.k.a. emoji, emojicons, humoticons
Most commonly used in instant messaging programs like Yahoo IM, MSN IM, AIM and ICQ (as someone's profile), they are also widely seen in e-mail messages using Outlook, Outlook Express and Web-based e-mail programs. Because this kind of "graphical" smiley is not original, authentic, or genuine to the original emoticon, understand that the majority of online users DO NOT LIKE IT and consider graphical smileys to be annoying eye candy.
A "humoticon" is yet another variation on the emoticon, this time by Skype trying to integrate the emoticon's more humanistic counterpart: you.
NetLingo Classification: Online Jargon