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Emoticons: Yes or No?

July 30th, 2007 | 1 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

While some people are certainly worse than I, I have been known to drop a ":)" or a ";)" in my emails. Most of the time, it is unreflective and stems from, I think, an inability to properly use language to indicate the tone which I am striving to attain.

I'm not alone. Emoticons have hit the mainstream, leaving people wondering what, if any, their proper role is in the workplace and elsewhere.

Emoticons are the perfect symbols for our increasingly hurried and inarticulate lives. Finding just the right phrase is hard--slipping in a smiley face is easy. Yet our--my!--hurry is increasingly making it more difficult to find substantial relationships with God.

Like almost all cultural movements, now that emoticons are here, they are almost certainly here to stay. And they will doubtlessly be improved as the technology behind communication platforms becomes more significant. And like all technological developments, they raise significant questions about whether we are losing as much as we gain in using them.

(Hat tip:  Joe Carter)

Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.