People aren't perfect until they smile =)

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"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. Various 'joke-markers' were suggested, and in the midst of that discussion it occurred to me that the character sequence :-) would be an elegant solution..."
- Smiley: 25 Years Old and Never Looked Happier!

First of all I would just like to thank Scott Fahlman personally for creating the smiley because I use it ALL the time. It really does help with text conversation.

It seems like Scott and his colleagues had a hard time expressing their tone or body language through text as do we. But now we have the help of the smiley to use for text conversation. I have come across conversations online with someone who I assumed was telling a real-life story and believed them. I replied to the story saying he should send in a video tape in to Funniest Videos. The person was all sorts of confused as they wrote back, "Dena, what are you talking about? IT WAS A JOKE. My goldfish didn't really jump out of the tank and back in." I think if the person would have used LOL or HAHA, or a smiley then I would have understood it was a joke.

For example, if someone was to write you in a text or e-mail, etc.

you're so dumb

you would take them seriously and think they really did just call you dumb,

but if someone wrote this

you're so dumb :)

you wouldn't take it so seriously and you would understand they are joking kidding (JK).


I would also agree with Scott in the matter that "Microsoft and AOL now intercept these character strings and turn them into little pictures. Personally, I think this destroys the whimsical element of the original." I agree with him 100%. I think the way the smiley is used with just the symbols is a lot better than a picture. 

It is crazy to think that "many people have denounced the very idea of the smiley face, pointing out that good writers should have no need to explicitly label their humorous comments." I disagree with the point that the smiley isn't being used into true literary forms or journals, but that it is used informally between friends and family.

Plus, every one could use a little smile in their day. :-)


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3 Comments

Maddie Gillespie said:

I'd have to agree with you on your point about internet programs now re-interpreting the smiley character strings into little pictures. I mean, I sometimes I like to insert smileys when I type something to my friends, but I only use the outlandish ones that I have no idea how to actually type! Mostly though, I just use "lol." I use it in cell phone texts too, especially when I'm using sarcasm with a friend.

However, I can't help but think that writing on the internet where people can read whatever you've written without any knowledge of you is completely different from reading a published work. When you read a book, for instance, the author provides you with (mostly) everything that you need in order to define a character. Then you can know whether a character is just joking around or really being serious. People online can't provide you with the same wealth of information. So, you'll always be in the dark unless someone tells you otherwise. What's this all boil down to? It means that I agree that we need the smmiley on the net, but books will forever hold more appeal!

I agree with you completely. I know that I sent a text yesterday that was very much like "you're so dumb :)" and it was okay because of that smiley face. If I sent it without that little guy on the end, my roommate probably would not have been happy when I got back home.

And I also agree that the "original" is much better than the fancy ones that are floating around now as well. I think he's cuter this way, too. :)

Andy Lonigro said:

Dena, I agree and feel like smilies are only a positive and can help the explaination of what the writer is trying to say. I like your example because you can definitely see how the phrase "you're so dumb" can be taken seriously. However, I never thought of a smiley being equivalent to an LOL or a HAHA. But in reality, it is. I like that connection. And personally, I think I use LOLs way more than smilies but i guess that's just me.

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This page contains a single entry by West Coast Envy published on September 17, 2008 3:59 PM.

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