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Emoticons - Like, Love, Loathe? Sunday May 25, 2014

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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Diana Sun, May 25th 2014 @ 7:27am

Hi Suzy - I only use the 'weepy' one if I know the person knows me well !
Even then, I think a little before this tear-dropping pic,is utilised ! ( one doesn't want to 'cry wolf ' ) - remember the story ? <<<<<<<

Anonymous Sun, May 25th 2014 @ 8:04am

Hi Suzy, I've got an antediluvian phone and I don't know what the last two emoticons mean. Can you tell me? I'm desperate to know ;-) :-)

Lex McKee Sun, May 25th 2014 @ 8:15am

Me too... I have the advanced phone but don't know how to use it!

Anonymous Sun, May 25th 2014 @ 8:16am

Loved this one Suzy....and your sense of humour that comes along with it. Sometimes, you have to laugh at yourself, even when people do ask, "How are you?" Do they really want to know the full details? Or do they just want to hear "Good thanks", so they don't have to deal with it?

I especially liked this post as I have just launched a business three weeks ago that is ALL about E-motions - "energy in motion". I have created a set of E-motion Cards for kids, which is already being received well. Here again, I am not sure whether I am "allowed" or not to post my website, so will do it anyway and take my slap on the wrist if I am crossing boundaries. I am pretty proud of my achievement on this front. I hope you don't address:

Keep up the good work Suzy. I don't do my charts any more but always read your posts!


Julia Sun, May 25th 2014 @ 1:44pm

Lovely blog Suzy. I use emoticons more and more these days. Much easier than finding the right words sometimes.xx

Anonymous Sun, May 25th 2014 @ 4:39pm

I like using them. I agree they can convey better than words at times and add a bit of humor which is always nice to lighten things up for me. But really it's up to the individual. I need more humor in my life, so it's a good way to insert some. Thanks for your blog and of course to everyone else for their comments.

David Jarvis Sun, May 25th 2014 @ 8:54pm

I enjoyed this blog, thanks Suzy.
I like the idea of the text your brother sent you, I can imagine it would have been funny.
Frank Skinner made me laugh on an episode of 'Room 101' when he talked about 'selfies' and jokingly suggested he used them as time saving messages to send to people, such as a shot of him looking worryingly at his watch, if he was running was funnier when he said it anyway :-)
I think any form that helps people to express the way they feel is valuable, not to mention if it's also a fun way to do it as well.
I do worry though that it can be another excuse to avoid actual human contact. How many of us now text instead of calling people? Not to mention the huge monthly bills most of us now pay for something we didn't need 20 years ago. Dealing with our own and other people's emotions can be a difficult and messy business and, though it's good that we have another medium to tackle it, I worry that we are becoming more isolated from each other.
I sometimes struggle with socialising and I'm not keen on talking on the phone because I worry that I'm not expressing myself clearly or feel a need to exaggerate my reactions to what the other person says because they can't see my face. Texting gives me an excuse not to have to ring but I frequently get frustrated when I end up sending a long text (I don't like using text speak) or have to delete and rewrite a text in case it is misconstrued. I'm not sure having this excuse not to make actual contact is beneficial sometimes.
I guess the best policy is always face to face contact but it's good to have different options available.

Mart Sun, May 25th 2014 @ 10:27pm

Welcome back Suzy! I've missed your posts here these past few weeks. Yes, emoticons are great for conveying a wide spectrum of human feelings. I'd like to use them more but my conservative side often dictates unfortunately. :-(

Anonymous Mon, May 26th 2014 @ 12:32am

You could be describing me here David. I too loathe text speak and I too find talking on the phone exhausting because I use extra energy on expressing myself or in validating the person I'm talking to because they can't see my facial expressions and so can't know easily that I'm really hearing them. It's all very complicated isn't it? The modern world. Give me snail mail anyday.

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