How would you feel about including an emoticon in the first bit of written communication you were exchanging with someone?
I guess it all depends. If you’re happy to come across as a little twee and fey, then go for it. However few are the occasions when that’s particularly helpful.
Indeed, many are the girls who would claim to dismiss a suitor’s texts if he wore his smileys on his sleeve (guys, as ever, are less picky), and in the courtship of customer acquisition, where gravitas and authority are important to even reasonably flippant brands, the same thing applies.
This is a shame, because emoticons are glorious things. As we know, non-verbal cues are something like eight million percent of what we communicate, and emoticons simply provide this additional dimension to messages that were previously entirely “verbal”.
Where there was once ambiguity, there can finally be clarity!
If only it were so simple. You would have thought that what is ultimately a more sophisticated way of writing would have yielded highbrow acolytes, however the opposite is true. It’s a tragic irony that a form of communication which is supposed to convey a variety of meta-messages, always by default comes with one overarching one: “I’m nobody to be reckoned with”.
Sure, you can try to negate this with a deathly serious frowny…
…but the issue remains.
Written communication is central to marketing, no matter what your discipline. This applies to not only what we create for consumers, but also in our stakeholder interactions, from the mightiest PowerPoint leviathan to the lowliest Post-it note. In the future it would be exciting to imbue all these things that with the subtlety that only an elegant chain of punctuation can achieve (none of those auto-correct little picture substitutes please – I’m a purist), but we’re a long way off.
Still, as they say, language is evolving. It might take 300 years, but when the obituaries contain sad faces and romantic courtship involves creative stringing of figure eights, equals signs, and capital ds, I’ll be looking down and :D!