Changing the smilies on my blog
You (yep, you, the person reading this) may have noticed that I changed the smilies/emoticons on my blog. I was going to say “it’s been a long time coming” but it really hasn’t. It was only something I thought about a couple of months ago.
I think the thing that will shine through most with this change of smilies is that I believe a lot of people will miss the old ones, which were on my blog since 2009. It was an animated set with some very interesting emotions conveyed on some of the faces.
If your memory needs to be jogged, here is an non-animated screenshot of how they appeared above my comment form:
A lot of people asked me where I got the smilies from, likely because they wanted to use the same ones.
How the old ones became some kind of legacy
I said I didn’t know where they were originally from. I wasn’t trying to deter people from using these amazing smilies – though, don’t get me wrong, I kind of did want them all to myself – but I really didn’t know the original source. As the story goes, I answered every question with, “I got them from pishie.net”. I did get them from pishie.net, which was a rather inactive blog owned by a girl from – if I remember correctly – the Philippines. She was using the smilies on her blog and I searched her credits page to see if she had credited the original source, but she hadn’t. I was pretty sure she was not the original owner or creator.
Regardless, I saved all of the smilies, and kept them on my hard drive, maybe hoping to use them. It was only a day or two before I decided to use them, since the default WordPress smilies were unappealing, and back in 2009, custom smilies/emoticons were all the rage. At that time, almost by chance, pishie.net went down.
If I am not mistaken, pishie.net is now owned by my friend Luana for one of her roleplaying characters, using one of my old WordPress theme templates as its layout. 😊
A lot of people liked the smilies, sometimes they just completely filled their comments with them, I also got a lot of comment spam that had no words except smiley shortcuts. I think a few other people wanted to use the smilies but I said no? I don’t remember. I know they weren’t mine, but everyone became accustomed to seeing them on my blog. A while later, I saw a couple of them used on Yahoo or one of its subsites, but I couldn’t find anywhere to download them (they seemed open source).
Why I switched over to something new
My decision to update the smilies was not just because they were getting a bit “dated”, but because they look pixelated on retina displays, and moving forward, using individual GIFs for all the smilies was probably not the best idea for HTTP requests and speed. Animations are also proven to be a bit of a distraction… I guess from my point of view, I used the smilies less, and sometimes even avoided them because I want to focus more on writing better and conveying emotion that way.
Even in place of the occasional “LOL”, I use “hahaha”, at least on my blog. If you’ve communicated with me on Twitter or maybe iMessage, I do still use the “lol”.
I’m using an icon font from George Purdy – icon fonts are simply fonts where all the characters display as icons or symbols. I pretty much butchered the Font Emoticons plugin to get this working exactly how I wanted.
(Hopefully) a seamless change.
Over time I might bother adding some kind of guide so you know what smilies are available and can include them in your comments, but most default text smilies should automatically change, like these for example: 🙂 😞 😄 😛 But I haven’t put it at the top of my priority list.
I also replaced almost all the previous shortcuts, so some of the angry-like ones will turn into a :mad: smiley, and lots will just turn into a heart, but most of you knew you could write ♥ out and get this heart ♥ anyway.
They look a bit weird… maybe I am still adjusting to the change. They look slightly dark as well, so it’s possible I’ll use a slightly lighter grey. I’m also not too sure how they will appear in the email that gets sent out to email subscribers of my blog, but I guess I’ll find out. 😄