Judith Newman, the author of the article “If you’re Happy and Know it, Must I Know, Too?” wants the reader to realize that people should not replace words with smileys. Most people spend much time online. As a result, they get used to such an integral part of the online communication as an emoticon. Some people start using them because everybody does it, and others prefer using them because it saves time. Of course, there are many people who are fond of smileys because they are rather cute. Due to the fact that the young spend more time in front of the computer screen, they use smileys more often than adults. Both young and adult people should always remember that the real life is not the place for emoticons, so their usage is inappropriate.
Newman raises a very significant question. She provides several examples that illustrate how smileys find their place in different spheres of people’s lives and become a common tool even for adult people. Taking into account this tendency, it is not difficult to imagine what will happen in the future: smileys will be everywhere because the rising generation already cannot live without them. Young people are too addicted to emoticons, and they long to put them everywhere. At first they may start drawing them on their homework, then someone may decide to put a smiley on an official document, and finally, someone may choose to send a smiley to the space for aliens to get familiar with the culture on Earth. Thus, it is crucial to stop or at least to slow down the spread of smileys as soon as possible.
It is more than clear that smileys should not be a part of business correspondence. Business has its own ethics. To make a good impression on partners from other companies, a person follows a business style in clothes, chooses accessories carefully, and always minds his or her words. To add a smiley to an e-mail to one of the business partners is the same as to type “bye-bye” instead of “sincerely yours.” Every sane person will consider a smiley in a business letter as bad manners, or even worse – as disrespect or a mock. Moreover, smileys are typical to the communication of teenagers, not adults. As a result, in a situation when, for example, a forty-year-old man sends a business letter with a smiley, a receiver may think that this man tries to seem younger, which is rather pathetic. After this cute message instead of a serious e-mail, the relation towards this company will certainly change, and not in a good way.
Newman also mentions that people do not interpret emoticons in the same way. Thus, a small picture may cause misunderstandings, and a person may take offense if he or she perceives this smiley in a different way. If to suppose that smileys will be an essential part of the future life, then their usage may be dangerous. For example, a misinterpreted emoticon in a diplomatic act may lead to the conflict between two countries. Literary language exists for a particular reason, and smileys and other modern phenomena may easily ruin it, so it is crucial to save language standards not to have wars because of misinterpreted emoticons. Smileys and slang should stay where they are supposed to be – in a personal communication. Otherwise, one day people will stop writing words at all, and start sending different pictures instead.
To sum up, people tend to put smileys in places where they should not be present nowadays. Smileys make any text look unserious and mocking. In the future, emoticons may make the language poorer, and it will lead to the degradation of the society.
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