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Many of us spend most of our day corresponding with people electronically. In my office we actually instant message each other instead of talking even though we are literally close enough to hold hands (we never hold hands). We try to combat the tonelessness of email by doing things like using multiple exclamation points and even throwing in the occasional emoticon. But do these smiley faces undermine our professional credibility or are they actually necessary?

Emoticons, or combinations of symbols that loosely depict the human face, have made their smiley way from tween texts to the outboxes of legitimate business people. There are arguments against them of course. They are childish, lazy, and indicate that you don’t trust your reader to understand the written language. But the truth is that until we have an "I’m not mad just busy" font, these silly symbols are the best way we’ve got to quickly convey tone and emotion electronically.

This is because as far as email is concerned, sarcasm or any other tone just doesn’t exist. Emails are necessarily one dimensional which makes it nearly impossible to convey nuance. In other words, when we read email we get stupid. In a traditional face to face conversation, besides the other person’s words we have facial expression, tonality, hand gestures, foot shuffling, belly patting, arm touching and lots of other tiny cues to figure out what the hell is going on. In email all we have is, “Did you set up that meeting with Richard?? Thx.”

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There was a page Zoosk Study Women Hate Emoticons TIME.com

Many of us spend most of our day corresponding with people electronically. In my office we actually instant message each other instead of talking even though we are literally close enough to hold hands (we never hold hands). We try to combat the tonelessness of email by doing things like using multiple exclamation points and even throwing in the occasional emoticon. But do these smiley faces undermine our professional credibility or are they actually necessary?

Emoticons, or combinations of symbols that loosely depict the human face, have made their smiley way from tween texts to the outboxes of legitimate business people. There are arguments against them of course. They are childish, lazy, and indicate that you don’t trust your reader to understand the written language. But the truth is that until we have an "I’m not mad just busy" font, these silly symbols are the best way we’ve got to quickly convey tone and emotion electronically.

This is because as far as email is concerned, sarcasm or any other tone just doesn’t exist. Emails are necessarily one dimensional which makes it nearly impossible to convey nuance. In other words, when we read email we get stupid. In a traditional face to face conversation, besides the other person’s words we have facial expression, tonality, hand gestures, foot shuffling, belly patting, arm touching and lots of other tiny cues to figure out what the hell is going on. In email all we have is, “Did you set up that meeting with Richard?? Thx.”