September 19, 2010 § 2 Comments
A note about emoticons: I love them unequivocally and use them almost without premeditated thought. In fact, what started as an unassuming obsession with sentence-end punctuation and a deep-felt concern for the actual emphatic impact that question mark/exclamation mark sequences could produce quickly turned into a crusade of sorts for more assertive and specific punctuation combinations with my initiation into the world in instant messaging and, years later, texting. And blessed be the multitudes of others like me who also found beyond-earthly delight and joy in the expressive capability of keyboard punctuation, for they have helped expand and make known the infinite typographic combinations that constitute emoticons!
As much as I praise these sly, crafty sideways expressions, I am yet an amateur in the art of emoticon assemblage and communication. My line-up, straightforward yet demonstrative, includes the tried-and-true favorite the smiley [ :) ], known for its subtle touch of endearment and sentimentality; the jokester [ :P ], whose presence denotes general silliness, wittiness, or in some cases a hint of poking fun at the recipient; the darling and sweet [ ^.^ ] for expressions of delight and oops-moments; the irascible [ >:( ] in times of discontent, anger, and annoyance; the apologetic and self-deprecating [ :/ ]; the ‘whoops my bad’ tyke, [ >.< ]; and the tearful [ :'( ] to be used in times of dire and personal calamity.
I used to have a manager who used smileys almost as frequently as vowels in all of her emails, and to be sure, there is a limit to emoticon use in order to preserve its emphatic quality and effect. But I find that a well-placed [ :p ] or [ >.< ] is a far better indicator of my mood and conveyer of my sentiments than mere words or, even worse, unadorned punctuation. The verdict, then, in my humble opinion, is that emoticons are a an indispensable part of my linguistic vocabulary.