Monday, October 23, 2006

Hi, I exist lol

It has taken me years to get used to smilies :) I had always maintained that a good writer doesn't actually need to use them, because you can communicate the intention of humour or not without having to flag it up. Smilies are therefore lazy, which is bad. However, after having my own comments mis-interpreted on many occasions, I've come to the conclusion that I can't live up to my own high standards, so tend to err on the side of caution and write :) when there's a possibility that what I'm writing could be ambiguous. It's a bit like that "if in doubt chuck it out" policy I have with food of dubious sell-by dates in fridges. I can be quite a sarcastic writer at times (in face-to-face conversation I'm normally a lot nicer people have told me), but it's usually well-meaning.

So I have "come round" to the smilie. I won't use any of the variants (such as the wink or the tongue sticking out), because you can have too much of a good thing. However, just as I started to use it, I realised that nobody actually uses the smiley any more. There are now a variety of pictorial icons that most chat facilities allow - which actually look like proper smiley faces, rather than the sideways punctuation equivalent.

And that's not all. Now there are animated smilies, that clasp their heads, stick out their tongues - and VOCALISE. They scream or shriek with laughter. They shout "OH MY GOD!" in a Valley Girl American accent. And now I feel like I'm back to square one, because I HATE HATE HATE them.

I got MSN a few months ago, and rarely log on to it. The little windows that pop up are intrusive and I end up having those pointless "hi, how are you?" conversations about nothing with people I barely know or even remember. I hate small talk. As I've gotten older, I've realised that I don't have as long left to be alive - and life's too short to waste on conversations that require people to write "lol" after everything. And anyway, I very rarely "lol" at anything on the internet. Someone who started off as a friend and then became my own special crazy stalker used lol a lot in their emails to me - which is almost as good a warning sign as full-on CRAZY CAPS. I wish I could program in java or something because then I could write a little subroutine to deal with MSN conversations, so I could allow people to think they were chatting to me, whereas in fact, there'd just be talking to a very basic AI program. (I miss ELIZA).

I am officially old :)


Old Cheeser said...

I know what you mean about the "smiley", there is something rather naff about its usage and also it's a rather obvious way of signposting humour. But like you, I have used smilies on occasion.The animated, talking versions sounds unbearable ... think I would throw my PC out of the window!

Actually I don't think I'm properly awake today. When I first read your post I thought you'd written "similies"! Must be the english student / teacher in me. And decent similies are rather harder to come up with...)

KAZ said...

I agree about smilies.
Some people say that we should manage without excalmation marks! But I couldn't just like I need my bold and italic!!

Old Cheeser said...

Yes, exclamation marks give you that "this is funny / hilarious" emphasis we all need sometimes. Don't they!!!

Reluctant Nomad said...

If writing something, smileys are usually unnecessary but if you chat on MSN, like I often do, and you have a deadpan sense of humour, like I do, it smilies can be quite useful if you don't want to be accused of being rude.

However, I really do detest 'lol' and will absolutely never use it - talk about something that is over-used and completely unnecessary! Lol.

Kitten said...

I hate lol. It's like someone who doesn't laugh but says "that's funny" instead. People who write lol have forgotten how to actually laugh out loud.

Tom SF said...

First off - when did it become bad to be lazy? I must be a very bad individual.

Secondly, smilies are fine. LOL is acceptable on rare occasions amongst individuals who realise the other is using it cos they are simply being lazy. Just steer clear of the AOL standard of Lol, who write LoL!!!!11111one

Naturally it is acceptable as an ironic response. And despite it being used a zillion times by a zillion people, it is still funny.

I also find MSN messages intrusive. I very rarely instigate conversations and I often get pissed off when people message me. Especially as it is usually when im in the midst of a film and they feel their small talk is more important than my entertainment. Who exactly do they think they are?

And you are a lot nicer in real life - knowing you irl means that I can contextualise your online rants.

Lost Boy said...

The only smiley I use isn't even a smiley. It's this one :-( God, how bleak. I'm the same with small talk. I hate it to the point where I will avoid people I don't know too well at parties for fear of having to do the usual job/ partner/ house/ wheredoyougowhenyougoout chit-chat. Even the word 'chit-chat' sounds a bit like shit-chat. Too true.

Flaming Nora said...

Disgraceful! ;-)

matty said...

I often worry that I am rather stupid because the few times people have written mean things to or about me on my blog or via email --- I assumed that they were just teasing me.

And, it took me a good couple of years to figure out that the symbol was supposed to even be a smile. I used to think it meant something nasty about my ass.


I will not tell you how long it took me to figure out what LOL meant. ...well, OK. I guess it was about 3 years.

I don't message anymore. It is just too much pressure and I tend to try to edit my comments so I am too slow.