This Bizarro cartoon is brought to you by Unlimited Choices Consortium.
I'm not a fan of using a lot of emoticons when I email, but I do use the original happy face fairly frequently. Email does not imply tone of voice, so the two-stroke smile – I don't bother with the nose dot. : ) – is not only a simple, helpful communication tool, it is often necessary to let your reader know you were kidding. My humor has caused misunderstandings in emails before and I've offended people without even knowing it. If the pissed off party doesn't immediately write back and tell you so, you've got a loose cannon wandering around town drawing a target on your chest, as you skip and whistle down the street without a care in the world.
Of course, if you're skipping and whistling down the street on a regular basis and you're older than 11, unclear emails are probably not your biggest problem.
I am not, however, a fan of the electronic, digital, Pixar-style emoticons that move and wink and stick out their tongues and wear funny clothes. Those things make me feel as though the page is crawling with radioactive insects that have escaped from some evil laboratory at Disney. (FYI: all labs at Disney are evil.) Others are welcome to embrace these gremlins, but I avoid badly-designed things in my own life and don't want people sneaking them into my field of vision without even asking.
It occurs to me that last paragraph sounded like Andy Rooney. Shoot me now. Perhaps that's why almost all of my posts fall into the "cranky comments" subhead.
By the way, anyone know what emoticon you use when you feel like this?