Smilies were invented years and years back, when e-mail was first used. They were seen as critical. They were necessary to point out the meaning of ambiguous sentences like “You suck!” which, apparantly, has a different meaning when attaching a :-P to it. But I have two things against them, and I’ll point them out to you.
1. They’re over-used
Some people, especially teens who basically grew up with MSN, can’t write a sentence (or rather, fragment) without them. And that’s something that stacks upon their on-purpose sloppy use of language.
“Hey zefffer wazzzzup? ;) :P :D”
First of all, what does “What’s up?” even mean? I never know what to say. So I usually keep it to “Nothing.” or “Nothing in particular.” But all to often I’m tempted to say “The roof.” or “You should get off drugs, man.” Second of all, there’s too many smilies in there.
Where have the times gone wherein people enjoyed a tensely-placed comma? Did those times even exist?
2. They take the fun away
People assume their presence. If I would send out my daily “You suck!” e-mails to people, without a smiley — and they didn’t know me — they’d take it literally and send me back an angry e-mail. Booooring. In real-life conversations there’s nothing more fun than telling a totally nonsense story with a straight face and having people nodding along. “Ahuh, good point, monkeys should never be allowed within a five-mile radius of bananas, because they can use them as weapons of mass-destruction.”
Smilies totally take the subtility and nuances away. If somebody says something funny, it’s always :-D, or LOL(Laughing Out Loud), or worse of all ROFLMAO(Rolling On the Floor Laughing My Ass Off). It’s a language of extremes and exaggeration. Or at least, I hope so. Buttocks lying all alone on the ground after a bit of fun is not my idea of fun.
Where’s the little chuckle, the tiny grin? All that seems to exist is “Oh my god! That monkey has a huge banana! Wahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahaha! Oh ha ha hahahahawahahahahahaha!!!!!”
For fun I often post rather blunt, smileyless statements or opinions on forums and await what the response will be. Will they get that it’s meant ironically? Will they think I’m a dick?
It’s so much more fun without them.
But, let’s face it. In the end you need them.
And they need you.