Who uses ?
The most obvious and widely recognized meaning of the winking face emoji (sometimes known as the winky face emoji) is one of flirtation, especially in a playful way. This emoji is often exchanged in suggestive text messages. If misused, it can come off as being creepy to whoever’s on the receiving end.
The winking face emoji also functions as a way to imply that someone is just joking around. It often accompanies comments that are meant to be taken in jest. It’s a way to mark tone and let others know whatever was said is not meant to be taken at face value. If there’s no overt joke, the winking face can also be used to express lightheartedness.
Another use of the winking face emoji is hinting at something in a way that might be considered playful. For example, when the creator of 400 of Apple’s first set of 500 emoji was asked why the pile of poo emoji and the soft ice cream emoji looked so similar on Apple devices, he replied that “some design elements may have been reused between them.” He ended this comment with the winking face emoji.
Very appropriately, this emoji can function as a sort of wink wink nudge nudge to signal that you want someone else to do something. It’s a way to ask someone to do something in a way that isn’t forceful but still gets the point across. One such example might be suggesting that a friend learn a foreign language in order to impress someone they like, followed by the winking face emoji.
The winking face emoji has another form that existed before it, and which still exists to this day. This is the ;) or ;-) emoticon. Unlike the winking face emoji, it’s made completely from standard English keyboard characters. It dominated digital spaces long before the rise of emoji, and continues to be enjoyed by people who prefer emoticons to emoji, and on platforms where it’s difficult to type emoji. It’s used in the same contexts as the winking face emoji. In fact, the overlap in use is so widely understood that when ;) is typed, it gets converted into the winking face emoji on certain devices and platforms.
I might as well be homework, since you're not doing me when you should be
Stepmom Nneomz @VivaLaNneoma Twitter (May 24, 2017)
“Ready to get your hair summer time fine? I know a girl I am so excited to say that I am now accepting guests! #houston”
Hillary Banks @HillGlam Twitter (May 24, 2017)
You guys are so cute with your, 'Can't wait to start my life' posts. Welcome to the world of being broke, starving, and sleep deprived!
Ms. Chun @TheRealMissChun Twitter (May 24, 2017)