Most of us know how to transmit a hug by text. You just write the person's name (or alias, or initial) with multiple balanced brackets around it. So if you wanted to hug me, but were too far away to do so, you would transmit this to my phone or email, or put it in the Comments:
Or if you thought I needed a stronger hug, or you were feeling particularly huggy, you might do this:
This gesture-by-text is widely understood, and has the effect of making the person feel hugged, so that one appropriate response is 'thank you'.
I think it's interesting that it has a personal object, not just the recipient as such, as is the case with a smiley, but a particular person specified by name. So, supposing my sister N had lost her phone, but is in the pub with a friend, it would be possible for me to transmit a hug by texting her friend as follows:
Please hand this to N: ((((N))))
which would probably result in the friend handing over the phone. Or if I merely sent this:
the friend might do the same, but would also have the option of physically hugging N on my behalf, although they would probably still show her the phone.
Here's a question: in cultures where it is usual to bow, or to put one's hands together, are there ways of transmitting these gestures textually? How, if so?