Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I’m generally scared of change.  I’ve been a late adopter of, among other things, email, the Internet, cell phones, and girls.  And, dubious Lincoln-era claim aside, emoticons are a recent innovation. So, it was with some trepidation that I started using emoticons.  Now that I have, the embrace has changed me.

Once I do get into a trend, though, I tend to get in deep (e.g., despite being late to the cell phone party, I got an iPhone the first day it came out and now that I’m on the technology bandwagon, I’m a Twitter evangelist with @SteveD503).  I worried that by using emoticons I was acting like a middle school student, and given my past, I’d be unable to stop.  And yet, their adoption signals something important: emoticons are useful!  They add some of the non-verbal cues that are lost in electronic communication.  

I started small with the generic smiley :-) and gradually moved to the cuter wink smiley ;-)  I still work with a limited set, more because I fear using an ambiguous emoticon that my listener won’t recognize.  However, I have added the beaming smile :-D and the squinting eye grin ^_^ 

This is where things started to get strange.  The beam wasn’t altogether new for me (it partially supplanted “*beam*” for me in emails), but using it made me think about “beaming” more often while I communicated, both by email and in speech.  Now I’m breaking out the ear-to-ear more often in real life. My brain has actually been rewired by cleverly arranged punctuation. Unexpected.


Ben April 22, 2009 at 9:14 PM  

but, will you start using the richard nixon/asian tourist, double-peace-smiley just because you've seen this!


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