You knew this was coming. I borrowed this image from my art blog, and it feels lazy to post the same thing to two blogs. I like to think I have a 16 blog-capacity personality, at least. JK YALL, even peanut butter can only be spread so far, and I don’t dare to do anything peanut butter can’t.
(That kind of statement is called hyperbole.)
Anyway, I’ve already discussed ways that we kids add emotional inflection on our internetspeak, like adding extra vowels (yaay), or using acronyms LOL. Emoticons, predictably, do the same thing.
Oftentimes an emoticon is used to suggest that the tone of a statement is opposite from its content.
For example: “Yeah, you have the worst taste in music. I saw your Taylor Swift playlist. :)”
They can also have a softening effect on a statement, which is crucial to polite use of language. (That’s why we say “Could you open the window, you think?” Instead of, “It’s muggy; open that window NOW.”) However, since half of what people do on the internets is flirt, this softening effect could also be called an “un-creepifying effect.” For example:
Monstercookie92; What ru up 2?
Uwant2cmygilliehicks: Oh just puttin’ on my face so I don’t look UGLY.
Monstercookie92: U never look ugly.
In this scenario it says, “There’s a ten percent chance I’m kidding with you, just enough so you know I don’t plan to roofie you tonight.”
What’s really interesting about the emoticon is its future potential. These are the stone age days of chat technology. Will they someday have our faces, like in my picture? What will all the sexual predators do then?