Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Smiley Faces :) ;) :( :0

I confess. I am a serial smiley face user.

Somehow, it has become culturally appropriate to add a smiley face :) or a sad face :( or a winking smiley face ;) to text in e-mails, IM's, blogs etc....

This has to be the most passive aggressive communication convention ever invented.

You can say anything you want. You can be rude, demeaning, angry, or even lascivious. Then, if you add a smiley face, it's like you've invoked some kind of special immunity or force field against counter attacks. Here are some examples:

1) "You looked like crap today! ;)" The strategic placement of the winking smiley face means, hey, we're tight. You can't get mad. I'm giving you a cute wink. I've just insulted you but, hey, no worries! I'm your winking friend.

2) "I disagree with everything you stand for, detest the candidate you are planning on voting for, and would not even let you babysit my children. :) " The smiley face here means, :You can't get mad at me. I'm nice. I hate YOU but, I'M nice. It's like intentionally giving someone a black eye and than saying, "What? What'd I do?"

3) "I'm totally fine. You didn't hurt my feelings! I'm just going to stay home tonight alone. Have a blast without me! :("
This means. Please, please, please feel sorry for me. I'm not actually happy. Don't go without me.

Feel free to add some of your own, "I've been hit by the smiley face" examples..........


  1. Oh my gosh. This is so funny. And just so true!!!!

  2. Ha! You call that a post?! ;)

    I also love the (j/k). You can say something totally rude and inappropriate to someone and, since they can't here your tone, add a little "j/k" and you look like your a witty saint!

    This post was actually funny by the way. I was just kidding about the first comment. :)

  3. Kristen, you are such a smart @$$! ;)

  4. I must chime in and I'm surprised Nancy hasn't yet, perhaps she hasn't read this yet. And its only going to mean something to the Howerton folks. But I remember seeing my very FIRST smiley face from dear sweet Aunt Ellen Soft. I was just a little girl and I thought that was the greatest thing in the whole world. She signed all of her letters, cards, etc. with a smiley face by her name ! She did it for years, and I must say that I "stole" that from her. It always left the recepient so happy ! So I sign all my correspondence with a smiley face and think of dear sweet Aunt Ellen when I do !! Then in the 70's when smiley faces were all the rage, I would buy tons of smiley face stickers and put them everywhere! I am still to this day a sucker for a smiley face sticker !

  5. Counterpoint: The use of these emoticons are for sure ubiquitus, but consider the medium of communication in which they're used. If you accept the idea that 90% of communication is non-verbal, then you have to agree that in the written message via internet or text you get none of the physical cues.

    Personally this effects me greatly as sarcasm and indirect meaning are large parts of how I communicate. But as all probably know, sarcasm and indirect meaning are almost impossible to pick up on in written form.

    So where does that leave people like me? Stuck in the world of stupid smiley faces that pityfuly try to invoke my true intention. What about us Jodie? Ever think of any of us??...;)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.


Leave a comment - your opinion matters.