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I'm typically loath to use emoticons, but with Twitter's character limit, the rapid-pace of text messages and the plain lack-of-a-better-word situations, sometimes a smiley is the best course of action. Cartoonist Pat Byrnes, who produces work for The New Yorker, decided that available emoticons weren't enough to adequately convey meaning, so he created Smurks — available on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad — to help people share their feelings more succinctly. (Read our interview with Byrnes here.)
In Smurks, users are treated to an orange face that can be manipulated in hundreds of ways. Swiping across the default face will cause it to morph into almost 350 different emotions, but know that the touch function is sensitive, and long swipes make the faces change faster than you might like. Pinching the face will bring a host of other options, as does pulling. Tapping the compass icon will show you a "map" of sorts, displaying the faces you'll see in each direction. Within the "More" icon in the top left corner are "Wurk Smurks," more than 50 pre-loaded static emoticons made for specific situations, such as illness or drinking coffee. My favorite Smurks method, however, is "Jurk Smurks," which displays a random selection each time you shake your device.
To use a Smurk, you tap and hold your desired icon and then drag it to the platform of your choice. Twitter and Facebook are available as large orange buttons on the home screen, and after dragging in your Smurk, you'll be able to add a comment if you want. If you don't have anything to say, you can also use these buttons as an access point to read your Facebook newsfeed and Twitter timeline.
Smurks can be sent with no issue via email, but I encountered a stumbling block when sending via text. On initial tests, the recipient, also an iPhone user, actually got a text email, rather that a true MMS text message. I'm thinking this must have been a glitch on my carrier's end though, because subsequent tests the next day sent my Smurks via MMS just fine. Favorite Smurks can be added to the bookmark section for quick access, and users can also copy them to the clipboard for use in other programs.