You're such a bitch :)

Obligatory Disclaimer: I know that smileys aren't exactly found in books (not the ones I read, anyway), but they are made up of punctuation, which can be found in books, so, by proxy, I can write about them in my book blog.

Oh, the smiley. The winking smiley. The smiley smiley. The sad smiley. The open-mouthed smiley (insert crude joke here). I'm definitely guilty of smiley usage, and am grudgingly ashamed. I know that they're ridiculous- seriously, I'm trying to convey a message with colons and ellipses? Really? I used to put smileys on the homework I corrected as a fourth grade teacher, and the intellectual side of me acknowledges the fact that they really are pretty damn elementary.

On the other hand, they have some pretty practical, time-saving uses. You can be as sarcastic or mean as hell, but if you put a smiley at the end the person may think you're just joking or at least being lighthearted (and sometimes I actually am).

You're such a bitch :)
Subtext: God, you're actually a massive a bitch but I know you'll go crazy if I just say it- the smiley will seem jokey.

Wow, your kids have more toys than Toys R Us ;)
Subtext: Your kids are really spoiled. Super great job on that. Have fun buying them a Lexus at age 16.

I really wish I could have hung out with you last night :(
Subtext: You can be really annoying and I much prefer to sit alone staring at the wall picking fuzzballs off my sweater than seeing you.

They're also great for ending a text session with something. It can be awkward when you've been texting someone for awhile and it's time to move on. Saying bye is so strange when texting, for some reason. On the other hand, an appropriately timed :) can be a nice ending.

Smileys are also great for instances when you have no idea what to say. Something sad? :( Something happy? :)

So, just to recap, smileys are a fantastic way to avoid substantial communication, allowing us to further society's technologically-rooted emotional detachment with mere punctuation.

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