The Internet is a fantastic wealth of information, but it has one major drawback. Posting on discussion forums, using programs like Windows Live! Messenger (formerly MSN) and even just simply sending an email, you run the risk of something being misunderstood.
Text information has that horrid knack of confusing people with your actual intentions and the result can lead to many arguments. The times I place a smiley face within a comment nowadays to spare any problems that could occur has become more than just habit, but a requirement.
Even when writing posts for my personal website, there are many times when I have to discourage the urge to place a smiley face to show I am in fact joking or being sarcastic. Yes the smiley face has a thousand words just with a simple image. I suppose that is why road signs and trademarks are so important for recognition. With a simple image you can show so much information such as what your company deals with, there are road works ahead or what your mood is within seconds.
There is a right time and a wrong time of course to use a smiley. In blog posts and news posts they look terribly unprofessional, but if you want to add a little personality to a comment, this little gem can spare you hours of grief in the future. If you aren’t careful, the ‘Smiley Face Syndrome’ (well that is what I call it anyway!) will take over and before you know it you yourself will be carrying a smiley face wherever you go.
With all kinds of emotions summed up in an image, understanding true intentions is far easier than trying to explain with a paragraph of text. The smiley face has become the Internets calming force. Moderators on discussion forums can sleep a little easier knowing that there is less confusion and bad intent in posting thanks to our little friend the smiley.