In Defense of the Winky Face ;)

Posted on November 15, 2010 by

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Technology is a dominant force In the world today. In almost every aspect of life, technology has affected how we approach, accomplish, and achieve endeavors. The most common piece of technology is a cell phone—in fact, almost everyone has one. Since tools such as these are so accessible, texting the written word has become much more efficient than the use of mail or e-mail.

Now that this technology is so commonplace, forms of shortcuts and slang have presented themselves. Perhaps you are familiar with the smiley face, or =). These “emoticons” have taken different forms and possess many different meanings.

Recently, it has come to my attention that not everyone understands the world of smiley faces–and “winky faces” in particular.  This emoticon, most commonly seen as ;), is used in a variety of ways.

Just as homophones use the same pronunciation of a word for different meanings, the same applies for “winky faces.” Most commonly, a 😉 is used as a sign of playfulness within a joke. Placed most often at the end of a word or phrase, it is used as the topper or punch line to really make the text come to life.

However, “winky faces” can also take meanings that some would find undesirable. These meanings can be identified by using context clues to provide more insight into what the sender of the message is really, perhaps cruelly, implying.

Overall, faces within text messages are used to bring more feeling and tone to a message that is often lost within the written word. Emoticons can be viewed as tools that are opening the gateway to a better world of texting.

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