Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.
My wife and I were looking to get a little work done around the house, namely to take down the nasty, rotting pillar type things holding up the front of our house and replace them with pillars that don't make me dash through the overhang on my way to the mailbox because I'm pretty sure it's going to crash down on my head. So I went online and found a few local companies that fix pillar type things and I sent an email to them explaining what I needed done.
The next day I checked my email and I see a response. Here's what I get:
Matt, I was surprised see your email :O because I closed down my business about two years ago and I've taken on a regular job in an office cubicle :( My brother in law still does the kind of work you're interested in so I forwarded your email to him and you should expect a response some time today or tomorrow. :).
What? I don't know what happened to this man in the last two years but I'm pretty sure that when he was working construction, there were a lot less emoticons. It kinda' felt like he'd just discovered emoticons and thought this was an awesomely new thing.
But let's face it, emoticons say one of two things:
1) You're not smart enough to get your point across so you are left with the option of drawing a picture to convey your intent.
2) You think I'm so stupid that you literally have to draw me a picture. Not only draw a picture of what you mean but actually draw a picture of the reaction you think I'm supposed to have. I'm supposed to look at the smiley face or the mouth agape face and then feel happy or surprised or sad of whatever you're instructing me to feel.
Hey, you know what, maybe I'm not sad that you're in an office now just like the rest of us, shoved away in some cubicle where we can only see the sun through a grimy rectangular window in the bathroom. And maybe I wouldn't be so happy to hear from your brother in law who has done such a poor job of advertising his business that I found your business before his...AND YOUR BUSINESS HAS BEEN CLOSED FOR TWO YEARS!!!!
Look, I'm not an unreasonable man. I get it. On places like Twitter you're forced to keep everything short so a picture can be worth 140 characters or less. But if you're writing an email please don't make a sad face when you say you work in an office. I know what working in an office does to a man's soul. I know. Believe me I know. Your little sad face isn't going to be the illumination that finally confirms in my mind the soul-sucking structure of our society. I'm not going to say, "You know I suspected that working in an office was simply trading away the hours of my life for medical benefits in case of medical catastrophe, but now I'm sure because of the colon and the parenthesis this guy just sent me confirms it."
I get the wink thing because sometimes in an email I'm being a sarcastic jerk but I don't want the people to hate me so I put in a picture of a semi-colon and a parenthesis to show that I'm winking or something and then somehow that makes it all better. At least that's what I'm going for. So I get that. But when you're dropping emoticons like breadcrumbs to instruct followers how to follow your emotional journey I think you're going too far. Way too far.
Jesus didn't use emoticons and He turned out alright. Well, he was crucified but no amount of emoticons would've saved Him from that. He used parables. I'm not saying I want everyone talking in parables all the time because that would just be a little too precious, if you ask me. But definitely not emoticons.