Tell me how you really feel, Neal.

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"...the way to write well is to produce a bad first draft and then toil through many revisions, editing it and refining it to bring it ever closer to supposed Platonic ideal. If you believe in this (as I used to) and if you apply it to the topic of smileys, you arrive at the conclusion that smiley users are lazy writers who could get along just fine without smileys if only they took the trouble to revise and edit their work a little bit, to make the meaning clearer."
- Smiley's People

Okay, Neal, tell me how you really feel.

WOW! He was really ranting in this piece and mocking every one who has ever used the smiley emoticon. I understand that he retracts what he said, but his original piece really was cruel. He truly believed that "the online world has its own cliches and truisms, none so haggard as the belief that reliable written communication is impossible without frequent use of emotions." I don't remember seeing in Scott's article him saying that without the use of emoticons, the written form of communication will deteriorate. 

Also in his original piece he explained that "the internet is, therefore, still very much a college town and shares much the same ambience as Cambridge, Iowa City or Berkeley: a dysfunctional blend of liquored-up freshmen and polymorphously perverse deconstructionists." Okay, so then he was tearing apart college students, especially freshmen. Really, what the hell was wrong with him when he wrote this. I don't see any harm of the use of the smiley.

He denounced smileys and the people who use them on the internet. From my viewpoint, the only time I ever use a smiley or see one use is when someone is INFORMALLY talking to someone through text messages, e-mail, AIM, Facebook, MySpace, etc. When people are communicating online to one another, they aren't going to write a novel to them. They want to convey their ideas, thoughts, and feelings as quickly as possible.

I think Neal was beginning to think that smileys were going to be used in essays, articles, newspapers, TV, etc. The use of the smiley, well at least for me, is to help express a certain emotion quickly.

I appreciate that Neal finally understands the concept of the smiley. =)



Jackie Johns said:

I reacted pretty much the same way you did when I read this article. There is a big difference between casual conversation with the occasional use of a smiley and formal online communication. I suppose when he wrote his original article, however, it was hard to tell in what direction the use of the smiley was going. But even at that point in time it would be difficult to foresee emoticons bringing an end to formalized writing.

Christina Celona said:

Stephenson's article was so condescending that I almost found myself disagreeing with him just because he was being so rude!

He does take the smiley too seriously. In his defense, the article was written back in 1993. The fear of the newfangled smiley contraption worming its way into novels and essays probably seemed valid.

I did have to smile at his little footnote, though. This is for you, Neal:


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This page contains a single entry by West Coast Envy published on September 17, 2008 4:12 PM.

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