Real Writers Don’t Use Smileys

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Rewind back to grade school when the teacher would inform the class, “If you use the pronoun ‘I’ or ‘you’ in your paper, the result is an automatic failure.” Why? Because a paper written with these personal pronouns weakens the message of the writer.

Today, I assert that smileys should be banned in all forms of communication. It is a sheepish way to make a point. Writers, bloggers, texters, and tweeters use these pubescent emojis because:

  • They are trying to soften the blow of their passive aggressive insult directed at someone: “Don’t take it so personally buddy, I wasn’t really criticizing you :P “
  • Smiley lets a writer say something unpopular/controversial without sounding arrogant and smug: “I can’t say I agree that Emirates has the best hard product compared to Singapore. ;) “
  • Smileys mean the writer is not confident in what he or she is writing: “I don’t know if I should’ve asked for another amenities kit but I did anyway 😐 “

Overall, smileys demonstrate that a writer lacks conviction in what he or she is saying. Instead, smiley writers pander to the public by trying to use these Super VGA graphic to sound cuddly and folksy.

Because this is an op-ed column, the prohibition of the pronoun ‘I’ is not applicable. With that I would like to make a promise, at the risk of offending emoji lovers worldwide, that I will never succumb to the new norm of tagging every comment with a smiley. Like hashtags, smileys are another unfortunate negative externality from the casual world of social media expression.

I ask others to also respect the art of writing and take the pledge to do the same regardless of the medium for communication. If blogging is regarded as the lowest form of journalism then smileys are the lowest form of expression.

Yours truly,

@TheProfessor #writingisfundamental [no smiley inserted]

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