Last week Facebook introduced new “reaction” buttons to enable users to more accurately express how they feel about posts. In addition to the classic “like” thumbs up, now users can tap on “love,” “haha,” “wow,” “sad,” or “angry” emoticons. Can we clarify our tone or elevate the mood of our messages with emoticons? Is using a whimsical icon simply a nonverbal gesture to assist in communication? Perhaps emoticons can curb a misunderstanding or confirm an ironic spin. If posts are taken literally, can an emoticon project the message, “just kidding?”
In my online writing classes we spend a lot of time discussing audience, purpose and tone. After all, we’re not in a face-to-face environment where communication can be enhanced by tone of voice, facial expressions or nonverbal cues. Digital communication is different. But is a smiley face appropriate for online class communication? What approach should we take to accepting and even enjoying emoticons as they flash across our screen?
In a recent Discussion Board thread students were asked to examine their writing processes and compare them with others by responding to the questions: What kind writing do you do and what are the preferred conditions for these types of writing (i.e. social media or school writing)? I was surprised when students included several emoticons to express themselves — it added a creative flair to their words:
DB2Post: Your Writing
I feel like once you hop off social media and get into your school writing, you have to remember you cannot abbreviate everything, I feel like that is the hardest for me to remember. And that is where the biggest difference in social media and school writing is for me.
I appreciate that, I do try to use bigger words sometimes I feel like that makes writing more interesting, and makes the writer seem more engaged. But social media writing, such as Facebook commenting eetc, has us using such casual writing thats sometimes it hard to remember to write properly when you’re in a class such as English class, most importantly.
I am on the same page with social media, its so difficult to snap yourself out of that sort of writing style. We go from abbreviating words in ways no one even understands sometimes, to then having to go to school and write long essays the correct way, I mean i even forget how to spell certain words sometimes and i sit back and i tell myself this is not ok.. I am sure with this class it’ll just bring you back to proper writing techniques and soon enough you might find yourself wwriting pproperly on social media sites.
DB2 Post: Your Writing
I love you honestly, sometimes people don’t like to admit that social media keeps them sane. I unintentionally get on social media while out to dinner or with groups of family and friends. Its also like your so used to it you do it out of habit, even though you probably wont find anything new every 5 minutes you open up the sites.