It has to be cool enough, but not too cool…

Ok, so as Nelson pointed out, shortly after my rant against WeFollow, I went ahead and sent them three replies. Why? Because enough people were doing it that I figured I should just play along and participate. Of course as I indicated in my last post, once this becomes too mainstream (tech goes below the fold), I’ll lose interest.

This reminds me of my use of smileys (or emoticons, if you prefer), and how it proves I can be susceptible to peer pressure if I respect my peers. For the first 12 years of my online life, I refused to use smileys. Well, except for when I used them ironically, but again, I’ll note that this is before I had ever heard of a “hipster.” I think this was when people were just starting to talk about emos, which I later learned were not large Australian birds.

I refused to use them because I saw them most commonly used by people who did other annoying things like using colored fonts, writing *shrug* and *sigh* and otherwise trying to bring emotion into a textual medium. One day, I was shocked to see Tony (Dude, update your blog!) use a smiley in conversation, and I called him out for it. He shot back with something like, “I’ve been using email since the ’80s!” so I decided to refrain from judging him, but still didn’t deem smileys to be good enough for my use.

Finally, in the summer of 2006, I found myself at Google, surrounded by geeks. And you know what? They use smileys all the time. I probably started using them just to fit in and not get fired, and didn’t really see a huge value in them. At some point, however, I started to realize the great thing about smileys. They let you say almost anything without risking offense. As someone whose constant attitude of “I can’t believe you took that personally/seriously, you fool” gets me into trouble more often than I’d like, I’ve found smileys to be a great safety net. Let’s take a look at an example:

Without a smiley:

You want to know what else looks like a bug? Your face.

With a smiley:

You want to know what else looks like a bug? Your face. 😉

Pretty neat, huh?

3 thoughts on “It has to be cool enough, but not too cool…”

  1. Emoticons are very useful. I use them all the time to soften an otherwise unpleasant message, like: “I know you put a lot work into that presentation, but it would be great if you could completely rework it by the end of the day 🙂 ” or “Hey Bob, I just ran over your dog 🙂 “

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