Study on the case examples of mobile messenger emoticon use - focusing on Line Friends



Today, mobile devices have deeply penetrated in our lives. We deal with too many things with mobile devices to even image life without them. Due to the busy schedule of modern day people, it has become part of daily routine to exchange greetings online with each other or share daily affairs online and set up a specific group of activities online. However, given the characteristics of the internet place where people cannot see each other’s face, people came to long for an alternative to express their own feelings. As a solution to such a desire, emoticons have emerged and evolved continuously along with the computer technology development. In this situation, this study researched Line Friends, the emoticons of Line, one of the popularized mobile messenger platforms in South Korea, to investigate the cases of their use. As a result of this study, Line Friends were found to have been utilized in far diverse areas beyond the limitation of messenger emoticons. The emoticon characters have been sold in online and offline shops for diverse purposes and forms. Cute Line Friends were commercially available in the forms of dolls, stationery, daily supplies, and even in clothing and fashion accessories. These characters were especially often found in collaboration with commercial brand in various industries such as cosmetics, daily suppliers and food, providing friendlier and refreshing feeling. The major character, Brown, held own birthday party by inviting people to the flagship store and appeared in a broadcasting station’s event promotional video, playing roles beyond an emoticon character. Deep friendliness is established toward messenger emoticons thanks to the empathy while chatting with others. And such profound closeness let the emoticon characters move beyond the boundary of mobile messenger to take diverse forms in the offline world. It is expected that we can find further diversified examples of their use in broader areas in the future.


 1. Introduction
 2. Understanding of emoticons
  2.1 Idea of emoticons
  2.2 Characteristics of emoticons
  2.3 Emoticons & characters
 3. Case examples of ‘Line Friends’ emoticon use
  3.1. Design stationary and toys
  3.2. Cosmetics
  3.3. Clothing & fashion accessories
  3.4. Foods
  3.5. Broadcasting promotional video & birthday party
 4. Conclusion


  • Lee, Hyun-ju Shingyeong University Department of ICT Convergence


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