Emoticons (aka smileys) are fun, easy and add a lightness to any email or forum posts. When you want to add emotion, feelings or mood to your typed words you can just slip in an emoticon. :) They’re so simple to make, to remember and no-fuss.
Of course, some times we use a few too many. Sometimes we forget we aren’t typing a personal email and send an emoticon to the wrong person. Sometimes we send emoticons to people who just don’t like cute little text smileys. Then, there are the times we look back at the email we just sent and notice how many of those smileys are in there.
Too much of a good thing is still too much of a good thing. If you find yourself overindulging in emoticons – start cutting back.
Are you an Emoticon Use Abuser?
Not sure how many emoticons are too many? Ask the people you send your email to. Ask the people who read your posts on forums. (If you use an emoticon with every sentence you type – that’s really too much).
You find you also type a lot of other Internet shorthand, like LOL and ROFL.
Consider why you use so many smileys. Do you really need to explain or emphasize everything you write? Chances are the smileys have become a habit and you’ve forgotten how much simpler and uncluttered your text could be without them.
How to Control your Emoticon/ Smiley Addiction
Stop using smileys in emails or forums where you don’t know everyone well. Friends are more likely to enjoy the more personal styled communication.
Skip the smiley and actually write about your feelings and thoughts. Don’t leave people guessing or making assumptions. You may even find yourself connecting much better with people once you stop relying on smiley faces to tell them how you feel.
Instead of finding new and creative smileys to use, stick with just a few and use them sparingly. Standard emoticons like :) :D and :P should be plenty. Plus, these are standard enough for the average person to know rather than needing a special education on emoticons.
Replace the emoticons with something else. Go back to punctuation like exclamations points, question marks and dashes. But, don’t over use these either. One per sentence is enough.
Avoid emoticons and smileys when you have to write (or reply to) an email with any kind of bad news or a review of a person, product or service. You need to be professional at times like this and emoticons will not give that professional, competent impression of you.
One way to really stop yourself from over using emoticons is to remove them as a type of Internet shorthand. When you type a smiley follow it with a description in brackets. For instance :) (smile face). This will slow you down and help you see just how often you really are using emoticons.