Were you aware that emoticons are being used by adults, not just 14-year-olds on AOL Instant Messager, MySpace, Twitter, or whatever the kids are using these days? Now professionals are signing off emails with a smiley or winky face, and it's either a helpful way to convey tone, or a sign that we've all become illiterate and will soon be watering crops with Gatorade and taking health advice from Dr. Justin Long.
The New York Times blows the lid off the trend in an article that feels like it could have run at any point in the past decade, but was actually published today (I double checked the date). Perhaps I'm over the idea of emoticons in the workplace because as someone who writes online for a living, much of my communication with coworkers is done via email and IM (and we already discussed the great emoticon debate nearly two years ago). However, it seems even jaded bloggers can learn a thing or two about the dangers of expressing yourself symbolically through punctuation. For instance, did you know that there's an emoticon for "splayed lady parts"? Allow the paper of record to explain: