People are divided over the use of emoticons--sideways faces created using
punctuation marks--in e-mail, according to Bill Dawson of the Minneapolis Star
Some people are complaining that the use of emoticons is out of control, but
they would never use >:-< to express that they are mad about it.
"To be perfectly honest, I would rather die than add a little smiley face
to a message," says Angus Trumble author of "A Brief History of the
Carnegie Mellon University Professor Scott Fahlman is credited with introducing
the emoticon in 1982, according to the newspaper. Since then, the use of emoticons
has grown, and the High-Tech Dictionary has 239 emoticons and their meanings.
Users of emoticons contend they are convenient, offer a personal touch, and
add context to their e-mails.
"I often use it to counteract e-mail's famous lack of context," says
Amy Sitze of Minneapolis in an e-mail to the newspaper. "If I add a smiley
emoticon, you hear the tone of voice I intended; I'm joking with you."
While some may find them frustrating, emoticons are no "danger to the
preservation of good English." according to Anatoly Liberman, a University
of Minnesota professor and author of "Word Origins"