Recently I offended someone by mistake. I made a comment that was far too ambiguous. In my mind, it was a compliment. In their mind, it was an insult.
I used to use emoticons far too often. Recently, I was trying to give them up all together, along with exclamation points and the word “love” when referring to someone’s song or blog post.
These are the strange games I play with the world to try and improve my writing.
But when the person sent a message asking why I would insult them, they also mentioned that they like emoticons. It is a way for them to know what is going on.
In the world we live in, we are interacting with people in many cultures. If I tell one friend that I liked their song so much it made me want to puke all over it, they would know what I meant. Someone else living in a different country with a different language may think that I’m being a jerk because they don’t know my particular system of meaning.
So, now I respect emoticons. I realize that in certain situations, especially when interacting with a global audience that I have never personally met, it is actually fine to over-use them a bit. To put a smiley face in each comment, just in case.
Of course, if I am interacting with a writing group online and each member speaks my language and grew up in the same social type of setting as I did, then things are a little bit different. In those cases, my subtleties of speech will be more likely to be recognized. Plus, they may judge me harshly for using an emoticon even once.
It all depends on the crowd, the audience, the reader.
We are never writing in a vacuum!
Have you ever accidentally offended someone without meaning to?
Do you use emoticons, or hate them?
If you hate emoticons, do you think you survive wonderfully without them? Any tips for the rest of us?
Hope you are all well!