They started out like this :o) and have evolved into sophisticated phone apps (such as Emoji), so your texts and emails can be adorned with wee icons of everything from high heeled shoes to a VHS cassette tape and everything in between. Not to mention faces representing every human emotion under the sun.

I personally like emoticons. They're fun. Although I don't just slap them about willy-nilly - oh no! Every emoticon is picked with care. For friends with antediluvian (shh, don't tell them I said that!) phones that don't allow this new army of zany aliens to infiltrate the world of black and white, I've even taken to writing in brackets the picture I would now insert. (smiley face).

My brother sent me a colouful text recently telling me all about his day almost entirely in emoticons. It really did make me chuckle.

Emoticons can prove useful in more important ways too. Say if a friend asks how I'm doing and I answer truthfully that it's been a bad week and the reasons why, if I've added a picture of a howling face or a face clenching teeth, I feel they'll know - perhaps even unwittingly - that If I've managed to pepper my texts with a few little funny faces, I'm down but I'm certainly not out. Also, if I've cracked a joke that follows with a laughing face, I feel it ensures they know it's just that - a joke - and not me being acerbic.

And yet, I feel there are definite dilemmas with these emoticons too. If a friend texts expressing dire times, would it be too frivolous to reply with a motley crew of sad faces? And what of the business world? Too unprofessional? If yes, why yes? The conservative me says, 'no' but the real me says 'Why can't I?'

Love them or loathe them, emoticons are here to stay and if dotting correspondence with a few amusing pictures and faces delivers a smile, as well as a message, then I say, use them. I've a feeling though that more than a few of you will think me heathen. ;o) ;-) }o; ]-B

A Moodscope member.


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