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November 25, 2013

I hate emoticons (and dumb Internet abbreviations)

Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 3.12.12 PM

Having said that, there are two (2) exceptions to my rule: OMG (my all-time fave) and IMHO.

Otherwise, you'll never see one of those on boj (except in the comments, where pretty much anything goes).

And those emoji things, and the ones that actually move?

They make me run screaming from the computer when one shows up.

[via Kristin]

November 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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As a professional writer with many decades of experience I have only recently learned from using email how inadequate print communications can be. In fact, some techniques such as sarcasm can be downright disastrous – even be between close friends. Irony doesn't do much better.

So, like some of your other commenters, I have taken to adding in smiley faces to defuse possibly hostile interpretations of what I write. It doesn't hurt, and often helps.

As for abbreviations, my forte is technical writing, and the rule there is that you should explain to your audience (at least once in any document) what your initialisms mean. So I sometimes include a link to a webpage that lists abbreviations.

Going a step further, however, these days I think it is reasonable to presume that anyone who doesn't understand some term on a computer screen or iDevice could and should take a few seconds to look it up. Many times I recognize allusions I read online but when I'm not sure, I do a quick search. Browser software keeps making this easier all the time. I think it makes reading--and writing--much easier and more fun all the time.

Go ahead: Press your finger on "initialisms," above. Automatically or manually, it should take only a second to look it up. I always feel smarter when that happens. 😉

Posted by: PT | Nov 26, 2013 12:50:27 PM

Many years ago a friend used the term “Jewishly” and was promptly challenged as to whether it was a proper word. “Did you know what I meant?” she asked. “Then it’s a word.”

Like anything new, emoticons and abbreves can be iritating and intrusive or wonderfully useful. At best I like to think of them as words evolving, many destined to die but some to live long, rich lives.

IMHO. (First time ever I’ve used that one. I’m not usually very humble about my opinion..)

Posted by: Marianne | Nov 26, 2013 10:01:26 AM


Posted by: Joe Peach | Nov 25, 2013 5:07:39 PM

Run screaming from: The Google Glass virtual screen, iPad, iPhone, iMac, PowerBook or other laptop — a tad more devices to exit screaming from than a mere computer (as a demonstration of my deepest respect for our friendship, I have not included a moving GIF in this response — though it was tempting!).

I also agree with you on the point made in the post, but that's irrelevant where the facts outweigh the representation....

P.S. Maybe the next iteration of Google Glass will be sturdy enough to permit you to wear them while running. I know of no rules/regulations/policies/practices of any organization sponsoring your class of track events that would restrict viewing those horrible constructs when you need that last kick to take you across the line ahead of your competitors. Think about it!

This weekend's news brings word of a collaboration between a noted prescription frame manufacturer and Google to introduce the wonders of Glass to those of us who have worn glasses since elementary school. I can hardly wait!

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Nov 25, 2013 12:33:43 PM

I use to feel the same about emojii / emoticons. Running my own forum since before the time of the web (mailing list and then BBS), I banned these until about 5 years ago.

I was reminded of what my psych mentor use to tell me all the time before he died: all communication fails except by accident.

Pretty much, I realized that when you are writing for written text, especially informally intended to replace what would have been a conversation, one loses 90% of the intent. The words are there, but the emotional construct that would have been attached is now missing. If you know the person? You might project this feeling correctly, however if you do not? It is a crap shoot.

Emoticons are the equivalent of a photo being worth a thousands words. Being an 8bit representation of a photo? You probably saved only two paragraphs. And this becomes VERY useful when you realize not everyone speaks the same dialect of English that you do...and given the very nature of the internet, it might be their 3rd or 4th language. Again, all communication fails except by accident. You are always going to misconstrue something in you message. These stupid informal pictures help alleviate this.

Posted by: clifyt | Nov 25, 2013 12:27:52 PM

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