I'm with smiley

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"It would be comforting to think that the smiley will be eradicated from online culture, just as the genuine smiley face has, for the most part, been vacuumed from popular culture. " -- Neal Stephenson

Ouch.  As if his stinging commentary on the smiley wasn't enough, Stephenson concludes his article by throwing in that little gem.  Is display of emotion in online culture, or pop culture for that matter, really that bad?

I don’t think so at all!  I think using emotion, smiles (real or electronic), jokes, sarcasm, and irony in moderation is helpful in any type of expression.  Writing is, of course, an especially practiced and time-honored way that people communicate with each other, which has recently undergone a bit of a revolution in its application to electronic media and the internet.  But to me, the root of any kind of writing is an expression of thoughts, ideas and/or feelings to one another, for one another and/or about one another.  I don't think writing, online or otherwise, should be categorized as an elitist activity that thus should be devoid of such things as emotion, or if appropriate, emoticons.  All forms of writing have varying degrees of seriousness and each form can be used to communicate a different level of seriousness in different situations.  Now more than ever the lines between forms of communication are blurring, and maybe this article just reflects the "growing pains" of such an evolution.  Even Stephenson came back to amend his original statements.

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2 Comments

Maddie Gillespie said:

I truly enjoyed reading your comment! I agree wholeheartedly with you when you wrote, "I don't think writing, online or otherwise, should be categorized as an elitist activity that thus should be devoid of such things as emotion, or if appropriate, emoticons. All forms of writing have varying degrees of seriousness and each form can be used to communicate a different level of seriousness in different situations." I don't think people really think about how much they depend upon the reading of body language or the tone of voice within written works.

I couldn't help but wonder why it is that textbooks tend to put people to sleep or simply bore them to other activities when they read them. Then I took into account what you just wrote above, and it seems to make a good argument. Textbooks are boring because there's little emotion other than seriousness that can possibly overpower parts of the text! The same can go for strictly informational pieces of literature as well. It's all more of the same, I guess. Wow, guess I was just pretty serious huh?

I like your idea here, Jackie. In any kind of writing, emotion is needed, it's just that when a smiley is involved, it's a little more obvious with what the emotion is. (Kind of like Klapak's class today, eh?)

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