In Defense of Emoticons, Asterisks, and Exclamation Points!!!

Have you ever been in a conversation and found yourself blurting out what you think is a funny joke only to be met with a blank expression?

Imagine writing a comment using sardonic wit. The writer of the post can be left wondering what the hell you meant by that and may slap their laptop shut, storm out of their study, then sit back down and Unfollow you!

Insert smiley face :) and voila! Sarcasm bursts through the words and the writer giggles along with the commenter.

When I first started blogging around two years ago, it took me a while to get the hang of commenting. At first, I went into hyperdrive and left lame, “Great post!” comments everywhere.

Then I slowed down and read other reader’s comments. Some chose eloquent words. Others related to the content of the post and either responded emotionally or revealed something about themselves.  A few were hysterically funny. Most used different ways to express their emotion.

I look forward to reading what you think of my words. Sometimes comments make me laugh. Others are so sweet, they are like precious gifts, so I copy them to a saved file. Once in a while, I scratch my head and wonder.

To help you through the emotional minefield of commenting, I came up with:

Susie’s Surefire Glossary to Conveying Emotion:

Emoticons - Many comments contain the smiley face. :) It has always reminded me of Walmart, so it took a while for the association to fade. Now I LOVE the round yellow faces! They are like happy little bubbles of joy, unless they are unhappy faces. :(

Asterisks - Many use them for sound effects. **clink**, **crash**, **gulp**, **giggle**. These fun additions add another dimension to the comment and tickle my funny bone.

Exclamation Points - Okay. I’ll admit it. I am an exclamation point junkie! When wanting to convey my big goofy grin, I use them like periods. Honest to God. I have to go through every happy comment and take out at least half of them before Replying. Sometimes my itchy finger presses Reply too soon.

sample of sarcasm

When surprised or excited by good news, I will use two to four exclamation points. When something makes me jump out of my chair, I sit back down and then use eight, nine, or twenty of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think they show my natural tightly wound and quick with a smile nature.

If I take them all out, it looks like I just lost my best friend or I am not sincere in my response after laughing so hard, my face hurts.

I’ve read more than a few posts written by bloggers who hate them. Sorry. My exclamation point addiction raises its pointed head in nearly every comment unless it is a very serious or sad topic.

Question Marks - Yep. I use them in plural too for emphasis such as, “Can you believe how many question marks I use????”

Acronyms - I have tried out LOL, ROFL, YKWIM, and LMAO, but these descriptive shortcuts just aren’t me. I prefer to write them out. I admit to loving YOLO which means You Only Live Once. They are great words for any Wild Rider to live by.

Awww! - This genuine gushing thank you often accompanies a **blush**.

Cursing – Some blurt f-bombs with no hesitation while others disguise foul language with @#$%. I wrote about the subject here and the comments were f#@%ing amazing! Sorry. I couldn’t help myself… ;)

Hahaha! - My boisterous guffaw can often be heard by my next-door neighbor.

…. - Dramatic or comic pause left at the end of a punchline meaning, “Do you get it? You get it, right?”

ANYTHING IN ALLCAPS  - The message is meant to be really loud or sarcastic.

There are a lot of examples in this Twitter exchange. Can you count them?

sarcasm at its best

…random description  - Three dots enclose an author’s thoughts or action such as the very common, “…spits coffee all over computer screen…” or the uncommon, “…runs outside to howl with coyotes…”

Muah!  – Air kiss.

(((hugs))) (((shivers))) – Self explanatory, but effective.

Now you can go forth and blurt comments with confidence knowing they will be received in the right light or the wrong light, but whatever light you intend. Even if you are not interested in using any of these techniques, at least now You Know What I Mean!!!! ;)

What’s your take on conveying emotion in comments?

Emoticons. Love ‘em or hate ‘em?

Related articles:

The List of Chat Acronyms and Text Message Shorthand 

This is so Hideous!

Do You Curse Brightly

I Will Follow You!

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Filed under Humor, Life

132 responses to “In Defense of Emoticons, Asterisks, and Exclamation Points!!!

  1. Pingback: What Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda Been Freshly Pressed! | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

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  3. I’ve always thought you were pretty :lol: !!!!!!!!!

  4. \^_^/. I love eastern style emoticons, and this post!!!

  5. laketranslations

    After reading each and every comment, I wonder if there is anything else left to say! Thanks for the fun!!!! :) :D

  6. I was such a hesitant commenter when I first started out as well. What if I came across as a jerk when I intended to be funny? And what in the world did all those strange short forms mean!?

    I got over it clearly :) I still don’t use the acronyms. They don’t feel like me either, but I’m a flagrant user of smiley faces and hehes or hahas :)

    I’ve heard people say that smiley faces aren’t professional, etc. But really, without them, it’s difficult to get across the proper tone.

    • You sound just like me!
      In my opinion, when we are commenting, it should be in our own voice like conversation. People get to know each other when it isn’t over-edited. It isn’t for a grade and it’s not a master’s thesis!!! :)]
      Thanks Marcy!

  7. BOL and MOL! (in my world that’s “barking out loud” and “meowing out loud”

  8. Susie!!!! :-) Trust you to expose all of these “comment issues”, IYKWIM, and give the *thumbs up* to use whatever works for each of us. <3

  9. Oh, dear! I’m one of those who appears to be shouting all the time because of my excessive use of these!! I really do feel quite enthusiastic when I read other blogs.. I’m always so inspired!! And the creativity deserves a few !! At least that’s what I think!! xx Smidge!!

  10. How do you make those red circles around the words?

  11. Thanks for the shout-out! I’m loving that glossary of yours. I definitely needed one for all those acronyms, and it’s definitely great that I can inspire the six exclamation point reply. Nice. Muy nice.

  12. I say that writing can be as wonderful as conversation if you do make use of all you mentioned in the proper quantities. I don’t care for ALL CAPS as it does look more like shouting to me than anything else. As for swearing, depends on the situation and the word used. A salty old pirate in a horrible situation is not going to say “crap”. However, he might not throw the f-bomb either; you do have to consider it all.
    Good post! I :-) it much!!!!

  13. I am so guilty when it comes to exclamation points and ALL CAPS!!! You had me thinking with this post because to me it is just my way of connecting when commenting and just did not delve in any further than that. Happy Monday:)

    • Hey Renee! I missed your comment!
      I had a hard time getting used to emoticons, but I love them now. I had read some posts that hated on all kinds of ways I use to express myself so I had to make a stand!!!! :)

  14. Oh my, I love this fun post. Super fun!!! Don’t all these things replace what others can’t see our hands and face doing when we posti on the internet??? I say, how else are we to get our true emotions across??? Emotion doesn’t translation well via the web without a little extra help!!! :D

  15. I’m not an emoticon kinda guy, but this post was very clever, Susie!
    Good job!

  16. Hi Susie! My name is Coleen, and I’m an exclamation point junkie too! LOL. :) I definitely rely on emoticons when commenting!

  17. I am an avid believer in the … . Muah. Also I xo strangers much more on twitter than I ever would in real life. Ew. :)

    • That is so true! At first I was uncomfortable with all the Love yous, but now I am more easy going about all of it. When you think about how most good friends sign letters with love, it makes sense!

      Thanks for your Twitter contribution!! :)

  18. Up until I got into this blogging thing, I was anti-emoticon and exclamation point. On occasion, I even made fun of my mother-in-law for using them so much. Now I get it. There is often a place for them here in this world. Hence, :)

    • There you go!!! I was reluctant to use them at first and I don’t use them in every comment, but you are right. They do have their place!
      I still check to see what others do and am always finding some new way to convey emotion. :)

  19. I don’t know how to put emoticons up in my comments so that is a blessing. Your tweet on Friday did bring the sun with it by the way!!!!!

  20. Jerry

    I don’t like communication with written word (now there’s the God awwwwwful texting) simply because there is no body language. No facial expressions, no grunts or growls…you know, sounds of disapproval and you can’t see a smile to know someone was being light heated. Smoke signals was a better way of communicating. 5 Stars for emoticons!!!!

    • I am glad you understand! :) It is a strange world of words. I am cautious when leaving a comment on someone’s blog who doesn’t know me. There have been some that had no idea where I was coming from. But there are people I know in real life that don’t understand my humor either!!!
      Thanks for reading Jerry!

  21. You’re fired.

    That’s what I would tell a junior copypwriter who couldn’t refrain from submitting articles and ad copy with more than one exclamation point at the end of a sentence.

    An exclamation point is like firing a cannon to add emphasis. How many times, really, do you need to hear the explosion? I hardly use any exclamation points in my personal writing, or very sparingly. And never, ever more than one in a row.


    Remember those dry, witty, self-deprecating VW ads of the 1960s?
    “Lemon.” Best headline ever. The ad agency, DDB, never used an exclamation point in any of their copy. Not for Volkswagen, not for any of their clients. Their writing was witty without a cannon blast explaining “this is supposed to be witty.”

    I will never publish a book or release an ad for a client that has more than one exclamation point. And if he or she refuses to remove the excess baggage, I simply tell the client, gently, with the same effect as if I screamed it with an exclamation point or two or twenty:

    You’re fired.

    • Guess what???? You missed the point of my post!!!
      This is not about blog posts, articles, books or press releases. This is about commenting which I believe should always be like conversation. No one has perfect diction so I don’t expect it in the comments. If you meant this to be funny or sarcastic, you might have considered using an emoticon. ;)

  22. You went through all this trouble to explain COMMENTS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    WHY ????????????????????? :) It was a fun read though, Susie.

  23. Yes! This was most helpful! I am an exclamation pointer too! :) And a *big* smiley face user. Oh, and the asterisk thing. =)

    • I LOVE it! I am so glad you are part of “cause!!” I don’t know what I would do if they became extinct… :) The asterisks are a new addition for me, but I love using them too!!!

  24. THIS is f-#%@%ing !!!!!!! When I speak, I typically over-use my hands and facial expressions to make my point. I need all the items on your glossary to help me get my points across and to convey my emotions when writing. I’ve got to find a similar glossary when writing in Spanish! This would have to include some sort of audio component in order show the incr^EASE in volume when speaking, thinking or writing in Spanish! (((((((HUGS)))))) :)

  25. I’ll use the emoticons fairly often but avoid the bad language – it’s a turnoff with many sites I think. Not sure how any emoticons I can make though.

  26. This post was so educational for me, Susie, I think it’s worthy of broadcast on PBS. I definitely overuse exclamation marks, but I drink so that’s my excuse. I use emoticons maybe twice a year and it’s never occurred to me to use asterisks.

  27. You know, Susie I’ve struggled with this emoticon thing. Some blogs hate that you use them but like you I think if I don’t then how is someone going to know I’m kidding or being a smarta*s. See what I did there? I think the rule is respect. When one stumbles across a blog/post, you can sense what you can and cannot do. I’ll always respect the post and go from there and thank YOU for enlightening us on the “rules” of of this. I’ve always loved your positive and inspiring posts…that’s why I always keep coming back.

    • Awwww! Thanks Brigitte!
      I do my best and we all have a different voice. It is wonderful that there are all kinds of ways to express ourselves. I would never fault anyone for “how” they comment. I am grateful for everyone that takes the time to read!!!
      I am very loose and have reeeeeally wide parameters for what is acceptable…. :) I did have a guy who rewrote my post one time, but the universe took care of him. He ended up in my spam filter! Hahaha!

  28. I use ;) because in a short comment it can be hard to convey the tone that emoticon references. And without, I just come off sounding like a jerk.

    • I agree and have to be careful when writing out my snark. I have to admit that when leaving a comment for the Good Greatsby, I keep my comments as dry as possible since his posts are so satirical! :) I never worry about him!!!!

  29. Wonderful! ;) There, that’s two of my favs. And … another is the pause. Now I haven’t used asterisks* but I love the ~ I call it the wave, kinda eloquent when I put it out there. I love the exclamation and all the rest! I firmly believe we should use them and it took me a couple years to learn all this from twitter; still don’t know all of it.

    Our views can be misconstrued and putting a little feeling behind it helps. Hell, I mean #%$& it’s a whole new world out there.

    This is my own observation … but when I went to a school meeting in a cafeteria, full of adults and students, I found I wanted the speaker, an English teacher, to talk faster; she was moving way to slow for me and not being concise, like repeating things over and over. It’s like we got it, we got it already.

    I kinda thought because I read news on twitter in 140 characters, I was wanting her to be more concise.

    In the beginning I hated seeing people not capitalize their i’s, now I know it is probably cause they are on a phone. :)

    Love the post!

    • Thank you!
      It is great that we have so many ways to express ourselves. Sometimes words just don’t seem like enough. I figured if I was in the minority, at least everyone would realize that I am just a good-natured goofball! :)
      That’s funny about the speaker. I have gone to Church a couple of times and thought, “Who writes the Priest’s sermons? Doesn’t he have an editor???”

  30. I agree the smiley face can really make difference sometimes in determining if sarcasm is involved or if it’s just a ‘lame’ comment. I tend to be conservative with the exclamation points and save them for something Really Important! ;-)
    You definitely made me think about it all – thanks, Susie!! ;-)

    • Thanks Denise!
      I think my exclamation points have somehow transformed to add happy emphasis to my posts. At least in my own pea brain!
      I have read several posts with the opposite viewpoint and JUST HAD TO TAKE A STAND! :) The poor smiley guy had taken a beating lately and I had to stick up for him. (her?) :D

  31. While I can go either way with emoticons (I tend to be a user), I have to say that your tweet picture counting the exclamation points? The way you numbered them and then ended with “6 exclamation points” totally made me read the whole thing with the voice of the Count from Sesame Street in my head. All that was missing was the, “Ha! Ha! Haaaaa!”

  32. That’s so funny and interesting! I would never have guessed that CAPS could be for sarcasm as well as shouting. I’m glad you posted about this, because I was about to start toning down my emoticon and ! use. Some people have opening criticized the use of them on their blogs :/ ;) :)

    • Some of my best blogging friends hate them, but hey, this is just how I roll. I guess they could always edit my comment!!!! :) They probably do!
      I don’t think of comments as big literary posts. We are supposed to be able to express ourselves. To be honest, I am grateful for every comment and would never ridicule HOW the person wrote it!!
      Thanks Catherine!

  33. I believe in using them all liberally in correspondence. I just try to keep them out of my fiction. ;)

    You are so funny. I love this: “My exclamation point addiction raises its pointed head …”

    • Hahaha! I had to add that one…They are pointy!
      I agree about posts or books, except when writing about them… :)
      Thanks Nia! I am glad you are part of the bandwagon!

  34. Haha! I think the acronyms thing is an age thing….. I’m too old to ROFL!!!! :D

    • That is too funny!!
      I remember being just a little bit shocked after finding the Urban Dictionary and finding out what WTF and LMAO meant! Not that I never curse. :) Now after two years, the f-bomb has become even more commonplace and many bloggers just write it out and don’t bother with the acronym…

  35. I’m addicted to exclamation points, and I have to be careful not to overuse them. I try to limit myself to two per comment, but I’m not always successful! (See? I only used two here!)

  36. You’re posts always crack me up, Susie. I was laughing so hard at that underwear message! I am a shameless over-user of the :). I can’t help it. It just seems to be what I NEED to put after every sentence, especially on Twitter. And I love using the asterisks on Twitter to be silly and fun like *dashes to fridge for Guinness* or *showers followers with four leaf clovers.* I think we all find out own fun ways to express ourselves online and it becomes part of our “voice.” Never really thought about that before, but we all do have a unique online voice. :)

    • Thanks Sophie!
      I use almost everything available except for the old acronyms. I forgot to say that I do use BTW. That one to me is like RSVP!!!! :)
      Everyone does have their own voice! It is funny how I actually can hear them while reading these comments. Yours is like a Selkie siren!! :D
      So I am

  37. Haha… they most certainly must be defended.

  38. It’s very easy to be misinterpreted so yes I like emoticons :-D

  39. Susie!!! You are the best :) ***squee*** Personally, I love love love all the Internety ways of showing emotion (but then, I have NO DIGNITY WHATSOEVER)! ;) (I think maybe I used to have some…it’s probably around here someplace…if I can find it, do you know anybody who can give it a good home where it will be loved and appreciated???) :D

    • Who needs dignity! Hahaha! You are in good company here. If I had any shame left before blogging, I haven’t any now!
      I love this silly world and tend to read posts that are on the humorous or light side anyway. I tend to joke around a lot, so I have to use them! :)
      Thanks so much!!!!!

  40. Making humorous comments on other blogs is what got me started. Rule #1 is never to try to promote yourself on some’s blog but these several authors liked what I wrote and encouraged my play off theme with my comments. They were Fix it or deal and perpetually peeved(since disappeared). I am thankful for that because the experiment was encouraged and the suggestion made that I was talented enough to start my own blog by these two women. I had to become computer literate first but had 3 decades of material on file to redo appropriately. I am so thankful they let me grow a bit on their blogs. This is one reason I do my Wednesday guest posts – a chance to promote others, esp talented newbies to repay the break offered to me.

    • That is very cool that you found a group that got you started. :) It is a huge transition from speaking which is pretty straightforward when people can see our smiling faces, to a world only expressed in words. There is so much room for miscommunication.
      That is great that you are paying it forward Carl!!

  41. Emoticons? I dunno? :)

  42. When editing a novel, I glare at all surplus exclamation marks. I soon learnt, in blogging, that they add the necessary spice to brief remarks! Also, I found that a smiley made all the difference to the idiots out there between being hated or amusing. :) Most acronyms seem trite, though.
    I love being able to give life to my avatar thus, for example: *waves a friendly paw*.

    • **Waves back**
      I got into trouble a couple of times early on when people didn’t get my joke. I found out I had to be really careful since I can be the Queen of Snark… :)
      When I am writing a post or working on my book, I don’t use many exclamation points. Maybe a couple during the climax for emphasis. But man, watch out when I am commenting. I am liable to put an eye out with them some day!!!!!!!!

  43. Wow!!!!!!! What a post …. I have loads to learn, I’m one of the old timers, don’t even understand the short texting … I can do shorthand, but the way people text today, I don’t understand anything of it .. mixture of numbers and words. That must affect kids learning of spelling and reading.
    I stick to the old fashion way … and once in a while … I will *smile … *laugh and *cry.
    Brilliant post.

    • Thanks so much Viveka! I think everyone should express themselves in the most comfortable way.
      It has taken me a while to find my own “voice” in the sea of commenters out there. I am so happy when people stop by my blog that it is hard to contain myself… :)
      I bet you are right about spelling. There are those who think that cursive will soon be extinct too! Sheesh!!!

      • You put it so right here in your replay, so long as we are comfortable in how we express ourselves.
        In our school believe it or not … is’t important if kids spell right or not.

        • That is crazy! It makes it harder to communicate. I do know that more schools are relying on computers so I can see where spelling tests will soon be a thing of the past! Sheesh!!

    • Viveka, want to put the hip youngsters in their place? Send them notes in shorthand. I think shorthand is one of the coolest-looking codes ever invented.

      • That’s a great idea … I really struggle with the new texting short codes. I wonder if short hand is still used anywhere??? It will probably die with my generation. I remember when the Dictaphones came … that was the next step … and they are still being used, especially by doctors. Typewriting while listen to “the masters” voice, what a exciting thing that was when that was new.

  44. I too love my exclamation marks! I am grateful that the gov’t hasn’t figured out a way of taxing them (yet). Once in a while I let fly with the f bomb but I try to control my normally foul mouth when writing. Thank you for the “Muah! – Air kiss”… did not know that one.
    Thanks for the enlightening post. :)

  45. I still am getting used to learning and conveying personalities by the written word on posts. I have started using more punctuation but am still rather reserved. I was taught not to use exclamation points but have started in conversations like these. So I say to my old English teacher …clears throat…ahem…Miss Bice if you can hear me, put down that chalk and take a flying leap!!!! Muah! to you Susie! :-)

  46. I love this post. I tend to overuse emoticons, because they’re fun, and you’re right, it can be really hard to convey meaning without them sometimes, while you’re writing in a conversational tone. My English-major experience was similar to Sally’s, and I tend not to be an excitable person anyway, so when I use exclamation points you know it’s something REALLY exciting.

    Acronyms, though, man. There are a few I’ll use to save time or space (generally on twitter): omg, btw, wtf, etc. I used to avoid LOL at all costs–figure it’s mostly just a lie, you’re not really literally laughing out loud, so why say so, why not just “haha” or something? Lately I’ve been laughing a lot more, though — don’t know if I’m just talking to funnier people, or in a better place, or both — and I’ve reluctantly learned to love it. Very sparingly.

    • I laugh out loud all the time! I guess it doesn’t take much to crack me up. :) I still don’t use LOL. I think it is because my kids were in middle school IMing when it came out. I only use Hahaha! when I am actually laughing out loud, but I bet there are a lot of fake laughing commenters out there…
      I am willing to bet that the reason you are laughing more is both of those reasons. I hope this is the start of a happy week for all of us!
      Thanks Bill!

  47. I agree with you about the smiley face as people are just way too touchy these days and don’t get it. Exclamation points… not enough I dont think hahaha
    As for LOL I do use it.. but in comments only.
    So I will sum up this week in the news !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Okay that does it..:)

    Love ya

    • Hey Linda!!
      There were times when people didn’t “get” my humor at all. I think there should be a sign we use when speaking to others so they know it is a joke while we are telling it. Saying “Just kidding,” afterward, never seems to go over very well….
      I hope we don’t have another exclamation point week for a reeeeeaaally long time. Hey! I forgot to add that one!!!!!!!!!
      Thanks Linda! (((hugs)))

  48. Oh My God! I’m the first person to get here today! With a degree in English literature, and the echoes of one particular professor referring to exclamation points as “screech marks,” it’s taken me time to embrace my inner punctuation slut. Now I’ll use an exclamation point any time i feel like it! I might even use two!! But I’m with you about acronyms. I just can’t go there…

    • Way to go Sally!
      My son paid us a visit, so I have been away until now.
      Screech marks??? I love it! I never took any college classes in English, so never heard that one…
      Welcome fellow “Inner punctuation slut,” although I am much more of an outie…
      The acronym thing seems so middle school to me. One time when I was writing a post about the Oscars, I stalked a few screen writers on Twitter. One of them seemed pretty old and wrote every thing in acronyms. It cracked me up! :)

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