Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Emoticons and Email

Abby says:
I send thousands of emails every week that are work related. I send hundreds more that are personal in nature. I consider myself somewhat Internet savvy. I surf all day long. I give talks on customer service and always include a section on “email etiquette”. Yet, I never understood all the emails I continually receive with smiley faces at the end (even smileys that move and shake) or symbols combined to actually convey messages.

I was reading my “New York Times” Sunday morning and found my answer. Emoticons. It sounds like an ingredient you’d find in Pepto Bismol. But, it’s the latest in symbol communication for email. The Miriam Webster definition is: a group of keyboard characters (like :-C) that typically represents a facial expression or suggests an attitude or emotion and that is used especially in computerized communications (such as e-mail).

I did not realize they had a name and a dictionary listing. Are we going to have to now learn shorthand for email? I totally don’t get this. It’s code. Like text messaging a teenager. Maybe I just need to further investigate, but I cannot imagine using emoticons in any type of serious business communication with my clients.

If you’re having a bad day, should I email you with an upside down smiley face and say sorry but I still "Heart" you ? I don’t think so!

I suppose I better study up just in case a client puts an emoticon in an email to me that I need to de-code. Or, in case someone in Slytherin House at Hogwarts needs to secretly contact me. I can let them know how l:-( I am.

You can click here to read the NYTimes article and view the common emoticon symbols to see for yourself. When you get to the New York Times home page, search "emoticons" and the story will come up.

Sincerely, your BFF, Abby

(that’s “best friends forever” for those of you who are not up on the lingo).

Sheri says:
I am not up on the lingo. I had never heard this word until Abby introduced it to me. I can barely work my iPod but I am able to maneuver the Internet a bit. I send tons of emails and I think the only emoticon symbol I’ve ever used is the smiley face. That is saved for friends and family, never a client.

Text messaging is a foreign world to me. I receive them but I couldn’t send one if I had to. This is something I plan to learn but I’m delaying it as long as possible.

All of this makes me feel old. I try to catch up but I am struggling.

Technology is great and I use it every day. But, nothing is quite as satisfying as putting a nice pen to some quality paper and writing a note, drafting some thoughts, or writing a journal entry.
Emoticons probably serve their purpose but the writer in me thinks people shouldn’t need them. Like my mother and every English teacher taught me, “Use your words.”

Abby says:
I agree with Sheri. The writer in my likes my pretty pens in varying colors of ink and my many secret journals. I love to write in them every night. I’m afraid the world is replacing conversation with electronic communication. I don’t like that. I prefer to pick up the phone and call someone. Or, send my personal notes via “snail mail”.

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