Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I [Emoticon] You. (LOL)

"There is no emoticon for what I am feeling."
—Comic Book Guy, The Simpsons

I have never been the type of person to use emoticons. I have also never been the type of person to write things like LOL, ROFL, or OMG.

But that is really two (very, very important) issues.

First up: the emoticon. Okay. I sent an email to my supervisor at some point several months back and upon reading his response, realized that my sarcasm did not translate to the written word. Which I think is weird, because when I write, I hear me saying the words in my head, so I wonder why you can't hear them too.

On a side note, please get the hell out of my head.

Anyway, no damage was done by that email to my supervisor, but it did teach me that sometimes a well placed :) makes a big difference. I have to tell you that emoticon usage is not just a slippery slope, but a damn Olympic ski jump. If you have been the fortunate recipient of one of my emails, you are probably aware that they have infiltrated my writing to the point that I can't write a personal missive with out including at least two little emoticon smiley faces. And the occasional frowny face.

Sometimes I'll even try to put an emoticon within a parenthesis, which possibly creates a situation where the clarity I am trying to achieve with the emoticon is wrecked by the additional spacing and punctuation.

(It's tough to have clarity, right? :) )

I'm okay with the :) emoticon and the :( emoticon, but that is as far as I go. Every once in a while, I accidentally miss the shift key and my smiley face turns into a winkey face, like this: ;). That's a problem, and a little too cheeky for me.

Now, for the LOLs of the world. I have absolutely no problem reading these acronyms when other people use them. In fact, I enjoy them. They convey a lot in just a little bit of space. I particularly enjoy them when someone uses one to tell me that I am making them laugh. Or making them roll on the floor laughing. Or! There is the highly coveted ROFLMAO. That's my favorite.

But I have clung steadfastly to my belief that I don't use these shorthands. Until I started to notice that OMG was creeping into my usage. Now, I have to tell you that my favorite way to experience OMG is when someone says it out loud: "Oh-em-gee." But it's all right if you write it down too. Or even type it.

However, I've noticed that I've started using it in my written work (and by "work," I mainly mean "emails") because it's easy. And because then I don't have to worry about the comma (Oh, my God or Oh my God), and I always worry about the capitalization of "God" because if it's a name it should be capitalized, but if it's just my god, then maybe it shouldn't, but oh jeez, then what if I offend someone because "God" should always be capitalized? Or, even worse, what if I offend people just for saying oh my God when I am clearly doing so in vain? Because I do know people who are hurt by that, and I don't really want to hurt anyone over that.

Hmmm. I could pretty much have just said the following instead of all of the above: You may start to see LOL speak and emoticons slipping into my words more often. Sorry.

OMG. :)


  1. Hah to Flutter above! I have to say my favorite emoticon is TeachMama Amy's :*)

  2. I'm sure you don't mean to offend but please be mindful, some of us prefer "Jeez" to be capitalized, forchrissakes.

  3. I realized a long time ago that I sometimes need to slip a symbol or two into something I'm writing to clarify what I mean. Yep Sarcasm is a good one for emoticons. Tough to include tone of voice on paper. Or screen.

  4. I also limit myself in range of emoticons, but I embrace both :) and ;)

    I regularly have to go back through my emails and purge extra !!!s though.

  5. It looks like the smiley man in parentheses has a double chin. :))

  6. Lady M: Oh, don't even get me started on my use of extraneous exclamation points!!!!

  7. I know that I rely far too heavily on the winky face to convey my sarcasm or as a chuckle indicator. I have one friend with whom I don't use any emoticons in emails, and I find myself typing "hehe" as a substitute, which is weirdly more annoying to me. Never been much of a LOL or OMG user, though. The only acronym I employ with any regularity is WTF. ;)

  8. That is one of my favorite Simpsons quotes ever. I agree - a smiley face emoticon can go a long way to deliver the feel of a message.

    I also hate LOLs and text speak in general, but it's used so much in the blogosphere I find it creeping is as well.

    Also a @->- (rose) for you.

    Oh, and my captcha is "phorkin" HAHAHAHA! Like "porking!" OMG, LOL!

  9. Einey has started to speak in leet speak. So we'll often here LOL (said - lool) and OMG (said oh em gee) come from her. Of course, meenie and Moe picked up real quick as well.

  10. I'm sorry, I simply can't resist the narrowed eyes:


    But I primarily use it in an IM context!

  11. Kim, I've never seen the narrowed eyes before. That is AWESOME. And, in fact, is usually the emoticon for what I am feeling.

  12. I do a lot with asterisks to accentuate a word (think Chandler Bing: "Could I *be* any cuter?").

    I also like the winking smiley but I tend to give him a nose ;-).


  13. That was me just above. Wrong login.

    I may need to incorporate the squinty eyes. -*-

  14. I use a lot of the :) too, as I find that my sarcasm doesn't translate well, if I am not careful. So, ;) to you.

  15. I always think that a smiley face followed by and end parenthesis looks like a double chin.


    I dare you not to think of it that way from now on. LOL (not actually out loud)

  16. And clearly I didn't read the other comments before I posted that. Ooops.

  17. I hear ya, I'd been resisting LOL for a long time, but I've given up.

    I have to use :) because I have such a terrible, rude, passive-aggressive manner in general. If not for :-) and his cousins I would have no friends at all.

    Speaking of which, I just realized that I've been afraid to check in with you because I'm so scared of autism. Pretty ironic for someone who was widowed by cancer huh? I'm usually the one with cooties.

    I'll try to keep up a little better now that I see how it's just a more advanced version of my usual neurosis.


    Supa Dupa Fresh, the Freshwidow

  18. What about the-world-is-just-absurd-stick-my-tongue-out emoticon? :P

  19. OMG.
    Yes, God should be capitalized (sp).
    I'm just saying.

    Also, we Presbyterians always capitalize the word God.

    Even as a proper name, God should BE capitalized.


  20. Oh, now, I notice that when I post a comment, my comment is, well, usually the last comment on your blog. It may be that I'm slow to comment.
    Or, perhaps I'm stopping conversation in its tracks.
    I hope not!

  21. Hey Karen, I comment late on a lot of posts that I comment on too. I know I love getting your comments. :)

  22. I don't often say oh-em-gee, although Pufferfish has been known to say it!!! Sometimes I like to speak in emoticons, though. For instance, if something upsetting happens, I might say, "FROWN!"

  23. It looks like the smiley man in parentheses has a double chin. :))


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