o_O Twitter Default Avatar

TwitterWhat does o_O mean? Exactly what is the meaning of the default Twitter avatar? What's the story behind its selection? This Twitter user wants to know!

Photo Avatar NEW Twitter Default Avatars

2009-09-14 - Twitter have announced 4 new profile themes. In addition to that, they've also provided 6 NEW Default Twitter Avatars. You can still use the o_O if you'd like. The PHOTO Avatar (at right) is what you see while logged into your account if you don't upload a custom Avatar. Visitors to your Twitter Profile will see the New Default Avatar you've been awarded based on your selected background.

File Names for Twitter's NEW Default Avatars (for Auto-Blocking)

  1. /images/default_profile_1_normal.png, /images/default_profile_1_bigger.png
  2. /images/default_profile_2_normal.png, /images/default_profile_2_bigger.png
  3. /images/default_profile_3_normal.png, /images/default_profile_3_bigger.png
  4. /images/default_profile_4_normal.png, /images/default_profile_4_bigger.png
  5. /images/default_profile_5_normal.png, /images/default_profile_5_bigger.png
  6. /images/default_profile_6_normal.png, /images/default_profile_6_bigger.png
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Twitter Default o_O Avatar OLD Default Twitter Avatars

There I was creating a dozen custom Default Twitter Avatars for my Twitter TOS and working on a few conceptual t-shirt designs, the above questions came to mind. I spent a few hours researching Western Style Emoticons (ASCII Glyphs) which led me to East Asian Style Verticons (ASCII Faces) or Kaomoji. Below is a summary of my findings in reference to the meaning of Twitter's default o_O avatar.

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Emoticons vs Verticons

I'm not the g33ky type so my knowledge of Emoticon usage is somewhat limited to the basics. I did find out there are Emoticons and Verticons. It appears that Twitter's Default Avatar is based on a Verticon meaning any one of these emotional states (listed in alphabetical order);

o (lower case o) = Normal Right or Left Eye
_ (underscore) = Mouth - A dot can be used in place of the underscore.
O (upper case O) = Raised Right Eyebrow or Raised Left Eyebrow

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What's an Emoticon? What's a Verticon?

Emoticons and Verticons are ASCII Glyphs (Emoticons) and ASCII Face (Verticons) used to indicate an emotional state. Kaomoji (顔文字, literally "kao" means "face" and "moji", "letter") is the East Asian version of an emoticon, referred to as a verticon, which is written vertically. The difference between East Asian Verticons (aka Anime emoticons or manga style smiles) and Western Emoticons (Internet smileys) is that the Verticons are read vertically and Emoticons are read horizontally.

From the Wiki

An emoticon (pronounced e-moh-ti-kon) is a textual portrayal of a writer's mood or facial expression. They are often used to alert a responder to the tenor or temper of a statement, and can change and improve interpretation of plain text.

:-) Smiley Trivia

ASCII Smiley :-) First Usage - Scott E. Fahlman, a Research Professor of Computer Science at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, posted this message to an online electronic bulletin board on 1982 September 19 at at 11:44 during a discussion about the limits of online humor:

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:


Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use


World Smile Foundation

Smiley :) Harvey Ball designed the original Smiley Face back in 1963.

His design of the Smiley came about in 1963. The State Mutual Life Assurance Company of Worcester, Massachusetts (now known as Hanover Insurance) purchased Guarantee Mutual Company of Ohio. The merger resulted in low employee morale. In an attempt to solve this, Harvey Ball was employed in 1963 as a freelance artist to create a smiley face to be used on buttons, desk cards, and posters. In less than ten minutes the smiley face was complete.

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Famous Raised Eyebrows (Kaomoji)

o_O - Left Eyebrow Raised

Sean Connery as James Bond 007

o_O - Left Eyebrow Raised

Roger Moore as James Bond 007

O_o - Right Eyebrow Raised (Sphocked)

Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek

O_O - Both Eyebrows Raised

Leonard Nimoy as Spock in Star Trek

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