As the online communication has prevailed widely, the use of icons representing the mood of the writer has been a great step in this area.
Before these symbols (emoticons or smileys) became so popular, I am sure there were much cases of miscommunication than as of now, however their importance is not only limited to chats, emails, instant messaging. They could be of great help in any type of written communication both formal and informal.
The history says, A person by the name of Harvey Ball spent 10 minutes designing the first illustrated smiley faces in 1964 in Worcester, MA. He did this for a client who was attempting to ease that transition of two companies following a merger.
So, even the start was a formal one.
But some business owners are not happy with the use of emoticons. In a traditional sense they consider such use to be infantile and do not exude a professional approach to correspondence in a business-to-business or even business to customer environment.
It is said that emotions have no place in business, They may be right in their approach , but the meaning of business itself has changed so rapidly in recent years that, this view sounds to be clichéd. Now people are considered as an important asset in business and if there are people, emotions can’t be rooted out.
So why can’t they express themselves in formal mails. I do agree that all types of smiley’s can’t be used in business communication but I am not talking about those.
We can’t ignore the use of facial expression and body language in communication. Thus these smiley’s / emoticons help sender convey the meaning effectively. And if business communication is considered the effectiveness has the largest ratio among other factors.
The use of emoticons is prevailing at a rate that I don’t think this area could be untouched by this. If not today this has to be the scenario after 15-20 years when the major users of this would be running the corporate world.
Their most important application could be in the area of branding or advertising.
Like MilkPEP, a dairy industry promotional group funded by the nation’s milk processors, has begun a campaign to evoke its distinctive milk mustache TV ads through the medium of text messaging by adding a milk mustache to the smiley emoticon. This was a forward-looking step taken by the company and the result is known all-over.
So as the internet becoming a medium for advertising, these smiley’s may play a great role in targeting the customers. And as far as business communication is concerned it has a long way to go.