(The smiley and frowney are depicted as emoticons in respectively the traditional yellow colour and the complementary colour of yellow, purple. If not declared previously I hereby declare purple to be the official colour of the frowney.)
Happy and sad birthday 🙂 & 🙁! Today they are a quarter of a century in our midst. I remember how I wondered about the strange interpunctions in some of the first e-mails I received from a friend of mine, :)))))))) ::)) :)! and the like. A bit later “my quarter had fallen” when someone remarked you had to turn your head 90 degrees (i.e. 25 per cent of 360 degrees (a full circle)) counterclockwise..which resulted in me experiencing a proverbial Aha-erlebnis and my initiation in the world of emoticons.
(-: & )-: (which reveal themselves when turning your head clockwise) are used less often somehow, which is may be related to the fact that this text is read from left to right. In the Arabic writing system (to be read from right to left) these emoticons could be intuitively more suitable?
It could also relate to how faces are “read” by people: first look at the eyes, then the nose and finally the mouth or the reverse.
Asian emoticons are not tilted & are focussing on the eyes instead of the mouth (e.g. ^_^ & O_O (and o_O & O_o, o_o, -_-) and sometimes even omit the mouth (e.g. in case of Harō Kiti).
:- & :-/, respectively the post-:-) & post-:-( emoticons, were invented a bit later, and are the valued versions of the fundamental 😐 emoticon with a vertical bar, symbolizing indifference.