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Honestly, the title of this blog is the first time I've used a smiley since the nineties. However, I do completely understand that they can be useful. I don't consider myself a member of the anti-smiley underground movement that Stephenson's Article discussed. (Although I did suicide bomb that one internet cafe that was frequented by smiley-users). My feelings are closer to Fahlman's in his article, when he sympathized with critics of the smiley. While smileys don't bother me, I just can't use them. I've just always felt that I can convey sarcasm using words alone...and that people who don't get it don't deserve the laughter.

Upon recent reflection, I've noticed that I endeavor to write exactly as I speak, or at least as close to that as possible. I think that the reason I tend to avoid smileys is that I don't necessarily smile every time I say something sarcastically. It's just kinda my sense humor. I enjoy it when people get that slightly confused look after I say something. It's usually more entertaining than laughter. It's also amazing how many people won't laugh until the speaker smiles, laughs or gives some other cue that they just told a joke. (Primarily, people who aren't exactly capable of complex thought). Besides serving as a useful tool for screening people I may potentially decide to talk to, it can be REALLY fun to tell ridiculous stories to people who are gullible enough to believe them. Anytime I say something ridiculous as a joke, I feel obligated to run with it if the listener believes it. I also tend to get more ridiculous as I add to the myth.  For example:

Just the other night at the bar, I was hanging out with four rather tall and athletic friends (if you happen to have never seen me, these are two qualities I do not have...and I find it just a tad creepy that you read my blog). At one point we met a few girls, and we told them that we were all on a college basketball team. Another friend and I then went on for about half an hour telling them all about how I was the best player on the team, never miss 3 point shots, and will likely be drafted by the NBA, etc. I probably smoked at least 5 cigarettes during this conversation, and they NEVER realized we were kidding. Maybe it's not typical (and somewhat sadistic) to find other people's confusion and gullibility hilarious, but I really can't help it.

The other reason for my refusal to use smileys is that I'm a bit of a purist as far as the written word goes. I refuse to use the other common online abbreviations as well. I don't even use them in text messages (This is the reason I call anytime someone needs to have a conversation with any sort of depth, otherwise my thumbs get tired). It's not that other people using them bothers me, it really doesn't. I just can't bring myself to use the letter "U" for the word "you". In fact, I sort of think that I have the complete opposite problem that many young students face. My academic writing conventions tend to dominate my social writing, rather than the other way around. I am reluctant (or embarrassed if I accidentally do it) to write "7" instead of "seven" because AP style dictates that it should be such. The only real difference between my social and professional communication is that I don't bother to remove all the profanity and spelling errors from personal messages (my friends and family have learned to deal with it).

So I guess I don't really have anything against the smiley. It's just that my style of writing has no use for it.

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