I have noticed something about myself. Something that makes me both ashamed and curious.
I often insert little smiley face emoticons into my emails and blog comments. Is this really any different than dotting an I with a star or a heart? Isn’t there something undeniably juvenile and silly about sprinkling my communications with tiny smiles? Doesn’t doing this somehow cheapen what I am trying to say?
I’m not sure, but maybe.
Why do I do continue to do this? Patently, I feel like there is something necessary or important about doing so. One thought: digital communication is missing something critical: emotional or interpersonal cues. It is tricky to detect tone when reading an email. It is often impossible to ascertain intent when lapping up lonely words. And so. Often, I insert a little smile to convey lightness or lilt. But is this lazy? If I chose words more carefully, would this smile-ification of my messages be necessary? Are the little smiles reminders that we should perhaps, from time to time, close the laptop and meet for coffee or make a phone call? Emotion and personality come through more clearly when communicating this way, don’t they?
A few more ideas: Is the ubiquity of the smiley face prime evidence of our paranoia? Our worry, irrational or maybe not so, that without these digital garnishes, we will offend or provoke? Is the contemporary use (overuse) of the smiley face flourish indicative of our culture’s obsession with happiness (or appearing happy)? Are we, by seasoning our sentiments with smiles, announcing Hey, I am happy! over and over?
**Short. Sweet. Smiley. Fewer words of mine = More words of yours. Leave a comment & send me on to your blog! :)**
Do you use smiley faces in your communications? Why or why not? Do you take a message less seriously when it is riddled with little smiles?