Having lived here for over a year now, I see myself using those once-foreign symbols as part of my messaging jargon.
I feel it softens communication with the other person. The effect is similar to that of a smile; you can say anything while smiling and it won't look so aggressive.
If you message without healthy utilization of these symbols, the negative effect is similar to that of ending texts with period marks. No matter the content, the tone will seem aggressive.
My last trip to Seoul I even picked up an Apeach pillow and set of peach-butt coasters from the Kakao store. Love that dude.
These are stickers for sure. My Asian friends and family use them all the time, including as replies on their own. Even my parents and 70-80+ year old relatives do this with regularity. The extra context that these stickers add are very useful and I wish they were more popular among my non-Asian friends. Somehow little rows of emoji and Slack reactions are just not quite the same.
What about MSN Messenger Winks? They seem like a clear precursor to these Stickers and probably predate them by 5 years at least.
i find with emojis that i always want new and more specific ones, and stickers cater to that perfectly. emojis are this wan, broad "happy" or "sad" emotional marker, which doesn't really convey all that much, while, as discussed in the article, stickers can convey really complex and pithy feelings related to the cultural environment people are living in. this makes them feel like a more honest and human method of communication through emotional pictograph, or whatever.
While the only places I tend to have ascii->emoticon functionality is Skype and Slack, the auto-replacement for that usage never fits the mood, and I never seem to find a good representation of how I interpret ":-P".
But more to the point, I think that these stickers have already caught on as what we would call meme images, especially on image boards. They're just not well integrated elsewhere.
I'd wager you're in a pretty small minority there. In fact, I'm struggling to think of a way in which :-P would not be seen as playful.
Do you have an example of the kind of facial expression you see in that particular sequence of characters?
For me it's something like a more muted version of this expression: http://www.nontoxicpestcontrol.com/uploads/2012/06/Poison-He...
Which is a caricature, because this is more of a platonic-ideal expression than one humans actually do.
It generally replaces an expression like "Heh." or "Ew." or "Bleh." or general irony. It's rarely playful in the 'child sticking their tongue out' sense.
Corpus taken from IRC of me using it:
13:58 <REDACTED> Bringing me up half a standard deviation would take me into loony land. :P
16:03 <REDACTED> What? :P
00:58 <REDACTED> You always cave at the last moment. :P
23:05 <REDACTED> Sometimes I lose faith in my potential. :P
05:55 <REDACTED> You know, normally telling somebody "Oh hey I just had a nightmare about you." would deeply offend them, but I get the impression that is totally within-aesthetic for you. :P
Tongue out the middle of the mouth is the more playful version, directing the tongue at somebody.
In Europe WhatsApp is a lot more popular than Messenger, and so people use emojis a lot, instead of stickers. Anecdotally I believe the amount of emojis in a conversation in Europe is many times the amount of sticker use in a conversation in North America.
The best part is, most are animated. And really well.
You can see some of them here.. about a minute into the video.
There are constantly new sets coming out, and they are very cheap too. Most of them $2.
then ctrl-W it is, please learn to render plaintext