In Defense of Emoticons

As a person who frequently (if not always) uses emoticons, it never fails to surprise me when people accuse me of using them too much and portraying myself as “unprofessional.” I understand the difference between using emoticons in a formal atmosphere and using them as a “chat accessory” so what’s wrong with them?

A few reasons why i use emoticons:

  •  Funny: If you really search, there are many fun emoticons (see some below):

♫~d^_^b~♪             ☆*:.。.o(≧▽≦)o.。.:*☆        (」゜ロ゜)」      (*・ω・)ノ

  • Breaking the ice: Informality! Speaking to someone who chats like they’re writing an essay for their professor…it’s quite awkward.
  • Emphasis/Clarification: Emoticons represent your “face” (albeit online). When speaking in real life, people will often assign an expression with what they’re saying – the same thing applies to chatting online. When I chat online, I find it useful to add a face next to what I’m talking about, just to clarify my feelings (it also helps when you’re using sarcasm).

Meanings of emoticons:

A few emoticons and what they mean in general (many of these stem from anime/manga):

:3                         ——>      Paired with a statement talking about cute things or sarcasm.

XD                      ——>       Laughing face; usually paired with Lol (or something similar). Also a reference to                                                           South Park.

x)                        ——>       A devious smirk!

D:                        ——>      Disappointed

゚ Д゚             ——-> Shock

>_< ;                 —->       Slight embarrassment

 

Internet Irony

Recently, I’ve been contemplating about the Internet and how it affects a person’s behavior in “real life”. It’s an extremely broad topic that has countless facts and opinions mixed in, so there is no definite “good” or “bad” answer that will define the Internet. Thus, we shouldn’t dedicate ourselves to searching for an answer and applying it to millions of different people. However, since it IS the Internet, I suppose I’m entitled to my own opinion so I’ll throw my own two cents in on the irony of the Internet, and what we should do to combat it.

“U mad bro?” I can’t count how many times I’ve seen that phrase. Be it forums, Facebook posts, chatroom messages, it’s everywhere. Stripping away the trollish identity of this meme, the underlying theme is “The internet is not to be taken seriously.” I’m sure most people know this fact – what is said on the Internet by some stranger cannot affect what your college application will look like nor will it prevent you from working hard to get your dream job (most of the time). However, we still feel offended when that stranger says something that “insults” us. Why is it that we can’t just brush it off and say nonchalantly “It’s the internet, it doesn’t matter”?

The scene that usually follows the insult is a nasty chain of logic vs. purposeful stupidity. Is it necessary for us to stoop so low to “get back” at these people? Not only that, but the rage on the net carries over into real life – why let something that doesn’t matter become something that matters? Why let the dark cloud of a stranger on the Internet hover over you? Sometimes, my sister will come to me in a fit of rage saying some person on the Internet (who she just met) insulted her and called her a nasty name. Would I let that fly in real life? Absolutely not. However, again, it’s the Internet. The best way to deal with these trolls is to ignore them. “Don’t feed the trolls.” Playing the white knight or defensively talking back will only serve for their entertainment while you make a fool of yourself. Especially don’t let their actions affect your actions in real life – becoming depressed over what they say is like allowing them a “victory” over you.

I have strong feelings towards this topic mostly because my sisters deal with it quite a bit. Thus, I hope that people will save themselves from losing their real self in real life to these trolls on the Internet.

Extra:

Originally, this post was supposed to be about relationships online – not sure how it turned into a post about trolling and the irony of our actions and words. So, if the article seems messy and deviates from the topic once in a while, THAT’S my reason why. Thanks for reading!!