Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Doesn't this smilie face look devious?

Every time I see one of this particular smilie face at the end of a sentence it recasts the statement it proceeds in some kind of devious light, as if the author was up to no good.

Since emoticons can be used to convey tone and meaning in an online conversation I think it's important to point this out. It's hard enough to convey emotion and meaning when writing online and having split-personality emoticons doesn't help.

Let's look at the emotions evoked from two similar emoticons:

To me, this says,  "I have a chainsaw and a butcher knife (in case the chainsaw runs out of gas) and I'm hiding in your closet. I already cut the phone lines. You are going to die."

Emotions evoked = fear, deviousness, psychopathedness.

Now take a look at this emoticon which follows the exact same statement:
To me, this one is a bit more... hopeful. You know, the kind of emoticon you'd want to see if you were hanging off a cliff by a tree limb and had just sent a message asking for help. Or the kind you'd want to receive if you were on a bad date and had sent an SOS SMS to a friend.

Emotions evoked = hope, friendliness, not death.

Am I nuts or do you feel the same way? Leave your emotional reactions to these emoticons in the comments.