Facing Facts: What emoticons really express

Published April 16, 2013 · by  

What emoticon is the most misused? Tweet@MSUMadvocate #emoticons #expressions

Emoticons, since their beginning, have evolved into a species of different exudations of emotions. Smileys, as they have been called, are creatures of mixed messages. Join me on this journey of digging deeper into the meanings of these ambiguous expressions of the virtual world.

Winking: Batting an eye at life

Winky faces are one of the purest emoticons, which is ironic since they often are suggestive in nature. They present sarcasm and/or flirting – bantering at its best. The jokester king of all expressions, winks are lighthearted, even when drawing attention to someone’s mistake. For example:

“Wrong form of to/too, genius. ;) ”

Though that is mean, at least they are correcting their neighbor’s blatant error of misusing the English language in a lighthearted manner. Subtract the word “genius” to make it less offensive.

Smiles exude arrogance

Smileys, though they began innocent and friendly enough, have transformed into the most annoying and arrogant of all emoticons. They are harbingers of patronizing, passive-aggressiveness toward whatever was said last.

“If you could do that that would be great. :) ”

“I suppose it’s all right. :) ”

“Haha, you’re cute. :) ”

“You’re stupid. :) ”

Smileys equal the following: “You’re misinformed and stupid, but I’m going to send this message in a polite way, so you don’t realize how annoying I think you are” and, “I want you to do something, but I don’t want to seem too bossy, so here it goes. :) ”

Use smileys with caution. If there is any way your smiley could be misconstrued, forgo its usage, unless you really do want to seem like a pompous piglet.

Nose goes

Hyphens have a lighthearted use in the land of emoticons. They can be used as noses to complete your emoticon’s facial structure. I, myself, have never been one to add a nose to my expressions, but it’s completely about individual taste. My sister, for example, always adds a nose.

I’m hoping that humans from the future will read this as a guide for how these blasted emoticons were translated in our present society, but in the meantime, I hope you read this and begin overanalyzing virtual expressions you and others use as much as I do.

It’s like I’m passing on a curse, or something.

BY MEGHAN FEIR

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