when I see you smile...

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Smiley

Falhman

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"maybe it would be a good idea to explicitly mark posts that were not to be taken seriously"

so the sideways smile began as a labeling mechanism. It actually had a point!

"After all, when using text-based online communication, we lack the body language or tone-of-voice cues that convey this information when we talk in person or on the phone."

This is very true. In text communication, all the nonverbal communications (body language, tone of voice) are absent. For this reason, text may be easily misinterpreted. The smiley was a way of non-verbally communicating intent. I never thought of the smiley as a message label before.This greatly applies to what I am learning in Communication Theory and Technology.

There are people who just got creative with the smiley for no reason. On aim now, there's at least 15 different smileys, ranging from devil to angel to winking. I agree with Falhman. The smiley has been exploited, and the original intent has been destroyed. Now, even a regular smiley in an email looks unprofessional. All because of the over-use. The smiley is used too casually.

In the context of the CMU message board, the smiley worked. It does'nt, however, belong in an email to your professor. Here, you should communicate your intent with full words. Shortcuts look lazy. An email should be like a news article, short, to the point, and above all: CLEAR.

Neal Stephenson

"since the streams of ascii characters flowing across the Internet (usually described as "cold," "mechanistic," etc.) cannot carry body language or tone, the missing cues must be supplied through punctuation."

-again, we need to supply non-verbal cues.

I don't think I agree with the comment that words on the computer are different than words on paper. Take fanfiction. How is that different from someone printing a story in a book? The only difference I see is that fanfiction.com doesn't charge a publishing cost, while book printers do. I guess you could take into the account that printed books usually have editors who scan the book for content, thus making them a higher quality that fanfiction, which is free-reign. But I've read plenty of books that read like fanfictions. Take Twilight*, for instance.

I agree with Stephenson's comment about not railing against popular custom, the key word being popular. There are too many people out there that like using smileys. Not enough people are angry about the smiley's unprofessionalism to have them banned.

"but innovations such as the smiley suggest that media-age writers may have a ways to go before they can compete with the average Civil War infantryman or Victorian diarist. The very ambiguity that, properly used, gives words much of their expressive power is viewed by many Net denizens as a glaring but ineradicable flaw in an otherwise promising system."

translation: words alone should be used to express intent and purpose. Take a look at the prose of Austen and Dickens. Compare that to a post on a discussion board. A great author is one who's words are timless and are read by different generations. Do you think our grandparents would understand the purpose of smileys? I don't. I think the smiley would be another reason for our elders to look down on us. They're fine for silly aim coversations, but leave them out of conversations where you are attempting to sound intelligent.

in summation:

"the very ability of the smiley to destroy a joke must be comforting"

It points out the obvious. The message is already there.

There are different kinds of writing. There's the prose we see in books, which has gone through many edits and revisions. It makes you wonder what the original copy looked like.

People do not continually revise their writing. AIM conversations and livejournal entries are casual forums often typed out in a rush. It is wishful thinking that everyone would take as much time as Dickens did to crafts their words. But Dickens was not an ordinary human being. Most of us don't have that much time.

I agree with Stephenson at the end, but I still want to avoid the use of smileys, because he made several convincing points in his 1993 article.

*I would like to state that I am not bashing Twilight. I loved it, despite the lierary critic inside me.*

 

 

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2 Comments

Maddie Gillespie said:

Time marches on, my friend. That is simply the way of things. If people ever have the wish to look back at what we've written online versus what's been published in novels, they're going to find considerably different items, especially if you add in age difference.

It's just like how you pointed out above, AIM messages are most often typed in a rush, their writers eager to send off their comments to friends while Dickens and other elevated writers took time when composing their works. It's all in the intent. Chats are quick and easy; novels stay with you for the long haul.

Maddie Gillespie said:

Time marches on, my friend. That is simply the way of things. If people ever have the wish to look back at what we've written online versus what's been published in novels, they're going to find considerably different items, especially if you add in age difference.

It's just like how you pointed out above, AIM messages are most often typed in a rush, their writers eager to send off their comments to friends while Dickens and other elevated writers took time when composing their works. It's all in the intent. Chats are quick and easy; novels stay with you for the long haul.

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