37Beware Obscure Emoticons

Emoticons are symbols that add an emotional touch to online messages. The most common is a colon followed by hyphen and a right parenthesis. In short, a smiley face: :-)

For example, imagine reading the following e-mail message from an acquaintance: “I appreciated being invited to sit in on the monthly managers’ meeting this morning. I couldn’t figure who was running the meeting—you or them.”

The message could easily be interpreted as a critical comment about how you facilitated the meeting. Now let’s add a smiley: “I appreciated being invited to sit in on the monthly managers’ meeting this morning. I couldn’t figure who was running the meeting—you or them. :-)”

The tone is immediately different. The emoticon clarifies ...

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