Emoticonally invested

The other day I had the following text message exchange with my little sister:


If you ignore the fact that she is reminding me to watch Georgie Shore (WHAT OF IT?) it raises a very interesting topic and one I wanted to explore further: The use of the emoticon to further explain feelings in written correspondence. Me? As you can see, well, I’m no fan. I think you should use the words to convey expression and meaning. Sure, the extent to which I do this usually involves CAPITALS or italics and usually lots! And! Lots of these! I think they are lazy, a little stupid and a little annoying in a 14-year-old teenage girl kind of way. I know. It’s controversial, and a little cruel, but it’s my belief.

My sister, on the other hand was shocked and dismayed that I sat in the same camp as her husband. She tried to send me further proof of their hilarity and awesomeness.

Exhibit A where she thought her husband was using an emoticon, but in the old-fashioned way….like the : and then the ) (OK I have used these before too)


Exhibit B that shows her persistence to the cause and art form:


So tell me, are you a lover of the emoticon, or a not so much like me? Do they really add to the conversation? Can you actually just use pictures and not words to have a conversation? AND WHAT ON EARTH DO THEY MEAN? I find myself trying to understand what the pictures are and reading into a picture of some strange small person wondering if it’s gritted teeth, or being scared that they mean? WHAT DO THEY MEAN?

Please feel free to respond by comment in emoticons. And how interesting is it reading other people’s text messages? Fascinating!


  1. Katrina Chambers says

    Haha! I love them!! My husband is addicted to them and never sends me a text without one! We do think we are 14 years old most of the time πŸ˜‰ (old fashioned wink)

  2. I think πŸ™‚ and such are okay in some situations. But actual graphics? Noooo. I am worth typing for, damnit! (As my partner attests to – he will type out *smiles* or *laughs*.)

  3. My belief is there’s a time and place. Instagram comments and text messages: yes. Anywhere else, no.

  4. I had a conversation with my husband the other day (a real life live one) with respect to text messaging. My theory is that a new language needs to develop to explain the ‘tone’ of a text – you know how you can read a message one way but the sender was saying it completely differently, sarcasm etc is sometimes hard to get in a written message as the spoken language has so much more to it, body language etc…perhaps graphics add that tone??? I’m not so sure…I’m not a user…yet.

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      I think your interpretation is far too sophisticated for some of the images that are available..but yes!

  5. stinkb0mb says

    I use the old fashioned ones if needed, things like πŸ˜‰ and =)) and πŸ˜›
    and that’s about as far as I will go – though Facebook overrides my text
    emoticons and puts real emoticons in status updates which makes me all

    As for Geordie Shore – it’s trash, every television diet
    needs an element or three [hello Real Housewives – especially of
    N.Jersey and OC!] of trash to have a truly fulfilled and varied diet πŸ˜‰ I
    was even more of a tragic and watched the “no delay from the UK”
    version, which was aired at 5am yesterday morning – I’m up at that time
    anyway, so why not indulge in some trash?

  6. crazyspeedylove says

    I feel so old – I didn’t even know that they existed…it’s like I have been hiding under a rock on Mars!! I really need to get up to date with all this stuff, because by the time my boys are older I will be so out of touch and whether I agree with what they do or don’t do – I at least need to know what they are talking about…otherwise I will be like an 80yr old grandma who doesn’t know how to use a TV remote!! (not that I will be 80 when the time comes!!)

  7. Not a fan here either! But love your sisters persistence!

  8. I LOVE THEM! My cousin and I will often do a whole message in emoticons. No words needed. So fun πŸ™‚

  9. Come on guys, they’re hilarious! It’s the challenge of trying to write an entire message using only symbols and pictures. The reward when you come up with a new combination. The thrill when you receive an emoticon message and decipher the code!

    Who needs to just use words, when you can choose from hundreds of animated little pics. They’re kinda like adding tomato sauce to chips, they just make things better.

  10. I LOVE them! I’m lucky my sister and bestie love them as much as me. We use them all the time, they add to the convo. One emoticon and you know exactly where they’re at!

  11. Hahaha! This is fantastic. I don’t like ‘real’ emotiocons. Sure, I use the old style- ;), πŸ™ and :D. Sometimes Apple kindly converts them into the fancy new version, but that’s where it stops for me.

  12. Prue Gilfillan says

    I enjoy using them in a particularly juvenile fashion like putting together the pointing finger and the hand doing the “ok” symbol which becomes something else entirely. Or the gun next to the woman’s head if I’m in the middle of an especially boring day. Try it! It’s fun!

  13. Bree Di Mattina says

    Yeah no. Old fashioned smiley faces and shouty caps for me only.

  14. MotherDownUnder says

    Ha ha…I love them! But I only use them with my sister and one other friend.
    There is something fun about using them…searching for the perfect one and then laughing when the other person responds with one that is even more perfect.
    Have you seen the turd emoticon? Nothing sums up a bad day better than a turd.

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      I only just found out about that (see Nikki’s comment above). OK, maybe I can start with my sister. That sounds reasonable.

  15. I’ve had to get on board. If only to work out what my teenagers are texting me! And K is on board too … gets quite creative with a pile of poop and a clapping hand!

  16. I ❀ them, it

  17. Gayel @ Modern Mummy Mayhem says

    I decided the other day emoticons do not accentuate my feelings in a text well enough and they would need pimping for me to jump on the bandwagon. So instead I have found a couple of pics that sort of say it all. (Garden gnome giving the finger etc ) and use these to add to my texts if need be. Childish … Maybe? Lol

  18. jess @ fushmush says

    Love them! I’m not against using emoticons to decorate my texts.

    Although I don’t do text speak. If I use words I spell them properly.

  19. Gail Virgona says

    Oh Beth I am 100% with you. My sister has starting using them. She blames her 11 year old daughter who types most of her texts but I’m not buying it. They’re wrong with a capital Rrrr. Text should be for telling someone you’re running late for confirming an apt. Nothing emotional hence my feelings on emoticons. If you have something personal or emotional to say then call

  20. Luisa Munoz says

    My mother is an emoticon whore. I sometimes get three messages with a selection of varied happy emoticons – some with love hearts as eyes – as a reflection of how much she loves me. Bless her – but it scares the shit out of me at 11pm at night. And then on the other end of the spectrum – my husband simply writes ‘ok’ – no matter how long, happy, questionable or angry the message is.

    You can never win.

  21. I’m not a user, although I love to have a dauble when using webstagram for insty. They are kind of funny, I wish there was a unicorn.

  22. Reannon Hope says

    I commented on your FB post tonight with just emoticons, easy to understand ones though- do you want to unfriend me

  23. Lisa Mckenzie says

    I only use smiley faces mostly I do have emoji but that’s it,i sometimes use a heart if I love something but not a whole sentence or pics it is annoying but I am old and it takes too much time In my opinion.

  24. Dakota Morgan says

    I can simply not send a message to people without an emoticon. I just love them. I think it adds a personal touch to the message πŸ™‚


  1. […] got thinking about them after I read a post a while back on BabyMac blog. Her post introduced me to them! I had seen a basic “smiley face” here and there […]

Leave a Reply to BabyMacBlogBeth Cancel reply