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Personally, I feel that if what I write
needs an emoticon to defuse or explain it, then I probably haven't thought
enough about the words I used. Novels aren't full of emoticons, yet most of
seem to understand sarcasm and humor when we read it.
This cyberworld is an unusual place, where we don't know one another yet can
say what we wish without interruption to a basically captive audience.
Although electronic communication is indeed written text rather than spoken
word, its tone generally falls under that of casual conversation (someone's
bound to do a dissertation on this), perhaps due to its speed of
transmission. And because we're all busy bees, few of us take the time &
energy to write our emails as well as our documentation.
It seems a lot of the confusion and offense *is* attributable to
misunderstandings or unfollowed conventions of communications (whether they
be smileys or respectful conversations or appropriate list postings). Lack
of tones of voice & facial expression & even just a mental image of the
other individuals drives us humans crazy, so we get creative with the
special characters & make the machine have a face in a way.
I'm not in favor of regulating Mr. Smiley because I love to see the creative
variations, but I think he does have a place in emails, especially those
jotted down quickly. So whether everyone uses him or not, I think he's here
to stay! :)
Sally Marquigny Network Imaging Systems
sallym -at- msmailhq -dot- netimage -dot- com Herndon, VA
"Great men, like nature, use simple language."
--Luc de Clapiers Vauvenargues