Everyone’s got their thing. A friend of mine in Newport Beach doesn’t use microwaves—it’s not that he’s got a fear of radioactive food—it’s just not his thing. His wife is probably the world’s most enthusiastic lover of books. That’s her thing. We all have friends who don’t do Facebook. Some may even have Twitter and Linked In accounts, but not Facebook. It’s not their thing. I too, have a few things that are, well, not my thing.
Those of you who have read my posts know that I love surfing, travelling and I’m really into business, at least as it relates to digital marketing. I also don’t wear skinny jeans. But I don’t really consider any of those “my things.”
Here’s a thing. I don’t do emoticons. I gave them up years ago. I really don’t know why, but I deliberately decided that not using smiley faces and frowns in my messages was going to be my thing. I have nothing against them at all and believe they can be helpful in communicating mood. It seems the most common purpose of an emoticon is to let someone know a comment was tongue in cheek, a hint at sarcasm or jest. That’s important, because it’s easy to misunderstand intent within the restrictions of text only communication. Not having the benefit of a facial expression or body language can cause one to take things the wrong way and often, we take things the wrong way.
I have been a part of drawn out organizational email exchanges and SOP restructures simply because one party took a text comment too harshly when it was intended to be somewhat of a joke. Or was it? Maybe there is a real underlying intent to our messages that are softened by our facial expressions and body language. Text only cuts to the heart of communication and if the poor soul at the receiving end is a bit sensitive, things can get out of hand quickly. Sometimes the misinterpretation is a result of auto-correct, or more likely it’s just bad usage, much like my writing.
I once lost a girlfriend because she kept taking my lame jokes the wrong way in our text messages. We got along extremely well in person, but for some reason I’d always screw it up with a text message gone awry or with a bitter email missive. It was all in the name of fun and I couldn’t convince her that I was only joking. I really liked that one, too. Oh, the heartbreak! Maybe I should have used emoticons.
Indeed, my life could be made a bit easier if I just used an occasional smirk or sinister grin at the end of my comments, but I like people not knowing whether I’m flippant or serious. It’s fun. It’s like having a conversation standing completely still, with a monotone voice and no facial expressions. It also allows me to be kind of an ass, which is also fun.
As a 3 time failure on Match.com, I’ve learned that women just don’t get me. Perhaps things could have turned out differently if I had only used a few emoticons.
What did he mean by that? Does he really hold the world record for the most accurate crowd estimations? And why did he sniff so much paste as a child?
Or perhaps it wasn’t the emoticons. Maybe it was me. Maybe it’s because Match.com sucks.
In any case, I’m still not going to use them, though from time to time I may include a rare sinister grin, just to throw you off your game. If you get one, cherish it, because you probably won’t see it from me again.