Emoticons (also known as emotes) are faces and symbols that can show how a pookie feels. They are accessed by clicking on the Emote Menu, or pressing "E" and then a letter or a number (E=P, for example. If you make those letter combinations, a blue puffle emote will show up). There are more emotes accessible on the keyboard than there are on the Emote Menu. In parties, there will sometimes be special emotes that you can only use during that party.
The most popular emotes for fam fam members to use is the smile, and the laughing emote. Other emotes are extremely common as well, so don't think that those two emotes listed above are the only ones that pookies and other fam fam members use.
List of Emotes
Click me to see the list of emotes.