;-) (or, Attack of the Emoticons)

By Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

First let me say that I carved an emoticon pumpkin for Halloween, taking a cue from some other geeky jack-o-lanterns. And I imagine that most of you use them on a daily basis – when you need a wink, a smile, a grin, a frown, or even a o.O to express yourself in text.

But are we getting overloaded to the point where we need emoticon etiquette? According to an expert in such things, “one smiley face in an e-mail message and one exclamation point” is totally fine, but “winks, toothy grins, outstretched-tongue emoticons” require some discretion.  Good to know! So what about an entire book? After all, apparently someone is planning to rewrite Moby Dick entirely in emoticons (or rather, the Japanese emoji, which are more expressive than the usual fare). But hey, if we can get the Bible in LOLCat, I guess condensing even further is the next step.

pillowsAnd NASA is using emoticons too – because how else but :-( could you express the disappointment of a failed launch?

I admit, I cringe when I hear someone say “LOL” aloud – some things are just meant to stay on a computer screen. Hopefully we don’t become so saturated with emoticons that we forget to smile the usual way, but if we do, luckily there are pillows we can hold in front of our faces. :-(

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