Evolution of the heart emoticon <3

Discuss

40 Responses to “Evolution of the heart emoticon <3”

  1. Anonymous says:

    ♥ is where teh love is ^^

  2. stylinghead says:

    <=3

  3. The Mad Hatter says:

    Cory, you’re funny

    <4

  4. Anonymous says:

    ♥

  5. LB says:

    Huh, now with Teresa responding, it looks like the good folks at BoingBoing don’t respond well to legit criticism.

  6. Anonymous says:

    my BF and I use <9. Love, squared.

  7. jere7my says:

    I was wondering why I was seeing a lot of sentence fragments here (including in the original post, which ends “Variants include <4 is just brilliant.” Firefox is turning the less than-slash-three emoticon into the start of an HTML tag, which isn’t closed until the next greater-than sign.

    Wacky.

  8. tofoomeister says:

    Never seen <4 before, but I have heard of 31336 (or 1336) used to describe someone who isn’t quite “leet”.

  9. LB says:

    I’m going to have to agree with #1 and #3 – this post was weaksauce.

  10. jere7my says:

    Aw, bugger — it did it to my comment, too. It should have read:

    I was wondering why I was seeing a lot of sentence fragments here (including in the original post, which ends “Variants include <4 is just brilliant.” Firefox is turning the less than-slash-three emoticon into the start of an HTML tag, which isn’t closed until the next greater-than sign.

    Wacky.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Silly me. I’m such a typical guy – I thought “<3″ was sideways boobs. Well, I guess I can say I <3 boobs! (Still, I’m feeling kind of silly for not catching the meaning when “boobs” clearly had no context where I’ve seen this.)

  12. archdukechocula says:

    I always thought of it as a scrotum, which is why when anyone uses to towards me I respond with

  13. Lone says:

    The problem would be the implied ‘evolution’ of the topic, an expanded history of its development and usage. The link author is just explaining their basic experience with the emote.

  14. Fried Gold says:

    I <4 you, Cory.

  15. Chinpokomon says:

    My favorite comment so far must be #7 Alden’s. If I ever meet a girl who responds like that, she’ll have stolen my heart (or should I say <3) forever. I’ve never really liked that emoticon though. I’ve seen it for maybe the past 2 or 3 years, but it always bugged me that it is backwards. I’ve noticed a trend lately of writing other emoticons backwards too, like (-:, which just feels wrong somehow. 0_o It makes me feel dirty.

    Anyway, not much substance to this post, but the fact that folks are bothering to comment on it says something. If BB isn’t an appropriate forum to have these kinds of discussions, I don’t know what is.

  16. sisyphus says:

    Yes, this is far from a wonderful thing.

    I love gaming, and I particularly love the lexicon associated with it. This is the most superficial mention of the subculture’s rich emoticon vocabulary that I can fathom. Not to mention, the bigoted discussion of “gay elves” from the linked blog is pure stereotype and not something I care to peruse.

    As if that weren’t enough, C.D. jumped in after 8 minutes flat to defend this lackluster post of a lackluster write-up on “lessthanthree.”

  17. Anonymous says:

    Weak post! I demand that my entrance fee be refunded!

  18. Cory Doctorow says:

    @20,@26:

    You’re right. Clearly we’re giving away the wrong flavor of free ice cream around here. Thanks for the correction. From now on, I’ll adhere to whatever set of editorial guidelines you’ve hallucinated for me.

    Also: everyone who posted constructive things about how this subject interests you, you’re wrong. It’s not interesting. We’ve been told. Adhere to the hallucinated guidelines, or the Internet Tough Guys will give you a serious talking to. It’s “legit criticism.”

  19. bethellodge says:

    I searched the meaning of the emoticon. I got my answer (thanks cory). I’m confused about what there is to criticize.

  20. Sensoz says:

    So basically, some guy is trying to start new “emoticon memes” (imagine my fingers doing the quote move here) by writing a ~100 words post and he ends up here.

  21. Cory Doctorow says:

    No. Basically, a source I trust is reporting on the way that emoticons have evolved on his corner of the Internet and you’re making sarcastic remarks about it.

  22. arp says:

    I was hoping for something more. His blog seems pretty interesting, but the post wasn’t really about the evolution of <3 more of dictionary entry on it. The blog post he links to in this one is better in my opinion.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Ha, I wondered what this emoticon was… I thought it was a bare ass(!)

  24. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Boring comment, Sisyphus.

  25. Squashy says:

    Ha, I always thought it was supposed to be a cock. Meaning basically the same thing.

  26. Justin Mason says:

    “<4″ was coined by Anil Dash: http://twitter.com/anildash/statuses/375886752

  27. anatsuno says:

    Interesting that it appears here as a gamer’s emoticon – it’s been part of my Livejournal culture (mostly female / media fandom) for years, and it’s inevitable that I wonder if it’s women gamers who brought it to the game world…

    I’ve never seen <$ as defined here (clever!), but we routinely use <3 alone – which we also write out the “words” for, be them lessthanthree or asscone; these can be verbs of course, so that in the same way that you can have “I [heart] NYC” you also find “I lessthanthree you so much” (ironically, of course).

    I personally have a habit of hyperbole, so my <3 have become <3333333333333333 in some groups, and <3456789 in others, to convey over the top affection. I am completely unoriginal in this – by which I mean, it’s really widespread in my online communities.

    /amateur unobjective e-anthropoly

  28. anatsuno says:

    Oops, I should have thought to write out the html code, sorry.. Edited repost, hopefully working better:

    Interesting that it appears here as a gamer’s emoticon – it’s been part of my Livejournal culture (mostly female / media fandom) for years, and it’s inevitable that I wonder if it’s women gamers who brought it to the game world…

    I’ve never seen <$ as defined here (clever!), but we routinely use <3 alone – which we also write out the “words” for, be them lessthanthree or asscone; these can be verbs of course, so that in the same way that you can have “I [heart] NYC” you also find “I lessthanthree you so much” (ironically, of course).

    I personally have a habit of hyperbole, so my <3 have become <3333333333333333 in some groups, and <3456789 in others, to convey over the top affection.. And <@2#$@3456#&%#!! in extreme cases, when profanity seems required to convey the strength of the sentiment. I am completely unoriginal in this – by which I mean, it’s really widespread in my online communities.

    /amateur unobjective e-anthropoly

  29. Alden says:

    I’ve seen quite a lot of quotes on various IRC database sites about <3, my favourite being this one: http://www.bash.org/?670121

  30. anatsuno says:

    I’d missed one, obviously… Here’s the missing bit (nothing fascinating, but I am a completist).

    I’ve never seen <$ as defined here (clever!), but we routinely use <3 alone – which we also write out the “words” for, be them lessthanthree or asscone; these can be verbs of course, so that in the same way that you can have “I [heart] NYC” you also find “I lessthanthree you so much” (ironically, of course).

  31. Anonymous says:

    ;hearts3

  32. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, my Livejournal/muck/furry circles have been using <3 for at least three years. And writing it out as ‘lessthanthree’ or ‘asscone’, using </3 for ‘don’t love you’/’broken heart’ (context depending). There’s also using &hearts; as well, for a &heart;.

    I have exactly one emoticon image in my instant messenger. <3 becomes a cute little heart I drew. I loathe most smiley graphics, but that one I like.

  33. cprompt says:

    My friends and I sometimes use 2.9999999, which is of course less than three (unless the 9′s do not terminate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/0.999)

  34. pineapplecharm says:

    \o/ has, I think, been independently “invented” by at least three people I know. Personally, my moment of insight came after an extended IRC session led to the realisation that in Courier, lol looks like a little dude waving for help as he drowns. Possibly under a tsunami of insecure backslapping digital nonsense.

    Anyway, \o/ seemed much more cheerful as well as being less ambiguous, so I started using that.

  35. Outsdr says:

    I always thought it was an emoticon meaning tea-bagging, because emoticons are traditionally viewed by tilting the head to the left, and it was the only thing that made sense to me. Go figure.

  36. VincentGuihan says:

    I love the <4 — I’ve never seen this emoticon, but already I’m in <3 with it.

  37. franko says:

    i actually always thought they were little lips, pursed to kiss the thing you were loving. the sideways heart thing never occurred to me!

  38. CitrusFreak12 says:

    ____/\____\o/____

    Look out! Shark!

  39. Anonymous says:

    True, this article’s title is misleading, but it does tell what the <3 symbol means. Though, admittedly, all the comments are more insightful than the article itself. I’d never heard of <4, and 2.999999 is funny. I typically use ♥ though.

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