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Thoughts on…Thursday: Emoticonscious

I’m going to try and do something epic today and write a blog post in under 15 minutes.  We’ll see how that goes.  It’s a good thing my average WPM is 82!

There has been a lot going in my mind lately, if you haven’t noticed by my abbreviated posts.  But I think in the long run that may be a good thing for me, to write “condensed” (read: normal-length in the blogging world) posts.  It gets me posting on a more frequent basis and helps me to be a little more succinct.  So I’ll continue that as long as my life and my mind are busy.

Sometimes (okay, fine, most of the time), I write about serious topics.  But today I don’t feel like writing about a serious topic.  Sure, I have many lined up, the most important of which is my thoughts on the Boy Scouts of America upholding their anti-gay stance.  More importantly than that, my thoughts on people turning in their Eagle Scout status, along with their badges, medals, and various other objects of merit, and denouncing the BSA.

But that’s a heavy topic for another time, a time in the very-near future where I have the wherewithal to write about such a loaded topic.  I have to say that it’ll be a momentous post, for the big reason that it’ll probably be the most controversial thing I’ve ever written about on my blog.  That’s huge for me because I have, up until this point, vowed to not talk about anything too controversial.  But this is pretty important to me.

Anyhow, like I said, that’s for another time.

Today, I want to focus on something different.  Silly, even.  Some would perhaps even say shallow and non-blogworthy.  That’s okay.  That’s what I’m looking for.  (Shallowness, by the way, is another future Thursday topic.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

You may or may not notice a certain lack of seemingly mismatched pairs of colons or semicolons and parentheses or capital Ds or ps.

Confused?  Perhaps it’s because I’m not using these actual symbols of emotions; the electronic way of showing what you feel.

I must admit that it’s very difficult for me.  At the beginning of the development of social electronic communication (i.e., e-mail, chatrooms, instant messaging, and later text messaging), I told myself that emoticons were ridiculous, and they weren’t for me.  Then little by little, I started to use them more and more, until it become nearly impossible for me to write any status update, comment, or e-mail without them.  I’ve watched a variety of shows where people are making fun of emoticons and how illiterate or juvenile it made you seem.  Even my beloved Gilmore Girls made fun of the use of emoticons:

(From Season 4, Episode 15: “Scene In A Mall”)

LORELAI: I just reread every e-mail you sent in the past ten days. No sickness
mentioned, but you did share these gems: “Hey, what up? Is it freezing there, too?
Ice.” And, “Whew. Pooped.” Then you added one of those obnoxious hieroglyphics
that I can never read that are supposed to indicate you’re laughing or smiling
or frowning or vomiting. I don’t know what.

RORY: That’s a typo. I don’t
do cutesy symbols.

This is a real dilemma for me, seeing as I hold two majors in English.  I remember a few years back where I swore to myself that any electronic communication I did, I would always use proper capitalization, full sentences, and no “text speak”.  That attempt utterly failed after about two weeks, if that.  So I do see the point of having a stigma against such things.  I have to admit that I despise the word “woot” (or w00t with zeroes, if I’m to be accurate) and started a campaign against the word awhile back, not-so-jokingly announcing, “friends don’t let friends say w00t”.  I’m also starting to get self-conscious about using LoL or LMAO, because, really, who is actually laughing out loud or guffawing so hard that tears fill their eyes when they write those two abbreviations?  I’m willing to say not many.  I think it goes back to trying to substitute electronic communication with face-to-face communication, something that I recently wrote about.  We’re trying desperately to show what we’re feeling when the person we’re talking to can’t see how we’re feeling for themselves.  Is that good enough, though?  Not for me.

So I think I’m going to try to go without emoticons for a little bit, and see if it makes any difference to me.  Wish me luck!  (See?  Right there?  I was so just about to type a smiley face and had to think about it and stop.)

What do you guys think?  Do you like using emoticons, or do you feel it dumbs you down?  What about w00t and LoL?  Or does it not make a difference?  Let me know in the comments section below!

Smile, Wink, Stick Out Tongue, Kissy Face, HUGE Smile, Frowny Face, Etc.,


(P.S. I totally finished that under 15 minutes!  I’m awesome!)
(P.S.S. [P.P.S.?  I never figured that out.] Did you know that I started a new blog?  No?  Well, feel free to check it out here.  It’s a blog completely dedicated to fashion, and I think it’s pretty neat.  Smiley face.)

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