In communication media like the Internet, small yellow ‘creatures’, known as Smileys or emotive icons, proliferate. They are now among us. They co-exist with us through our emails and instant messaging. They wait to dominate the Cyberworld. But, are they friends or menaces?
There are opposing views as to whether or not smileys are useful. Some say that they do more good than evil. Some say they do not belong to the cyberworld and need to be exterminated.
Some people argue that smileys are unnecessary in communication because they believe that a good writer does not need emotive icons to convey meanings to readers. They said that the great writers like Shakespeare or Tolstoy did not use smileys when they wrote the 'Classics'. They believe smileys are useless.
As a counter argument to this, those who believe that smileys are useful posed this question: "Do all people have the same literary skill like Shakespeare’s or Tolstoy's?"
Furthermore, some people argue that smileys are menaces in communications because they demote our level of comprehension. They contend that a smiley is unnecessary when telling a joke because it's as if saying to someone "This is a joke. Do you get me?" That’s why; they argue that smileys are signs of gullibility and ignorance.
On the other hand, those who believe that smileys are needed, argue that sometimes words can be misleading. And so, they believe that smileys can clarify ambiguous messages, like saying that this is not meant to be taken too seriously. Or, to say that this joke is half meant... :-)
A few people argue that smileys mirror our childhood years when our teachers give us smileys as our prize for an achievement during spelling or math test. And so, they believe that they do not suit us, at all. They are only for the youngsters.
But still many people, old and young alike, use smileys in chats and emails. They appeal to both ages. They are not exclusively for the young.
Other people argue that smileys are menaces because they consume disk spaces. They believe that smileys contributed to the development of new compressing softwares to save spaces on disk, and thus, they argue that smileys rob them of disk spaces and well, money.
Knowing that smileys consume just a few bits and bytes, many people refute this argument. They believe that a single smiley saves a lot of disk space because, they argue that a single smiley suffice in itself to convey their messages. Thus, saving a lot of disk spaces.
For many, smileys are useful to them because they often use smileys in electronic mail (email) and instant messaging or chatting. For them, smileys serve special functions through conveying expressive emotions which may not be conveyed through mere texts. According to them, smileys can express emotions more profoundly than written text. They believe that smileys give color to boring words.
Given the arguments above, how do you now assess these small yellow creatures known as smileys? Are they really menaces which need to be extinguished? Are they useless? Or are they our sweet, little friends?