It's funny how a simple things cause such relief, shift moods drastically, and influence the perception of a digital conversation. Trust is encouraged and imbued in emoticon: a smile means the communicator is smiling, a frown means upset, a smile with a 'D' instead of a ')' is ecstatic smiling, etc.
Yesterday, I felt like I was in a well, drowning in the darkness of the tunneling heights with light a mere pinpoint so far above the murky, muddy cesspit my body struggled with. As I lay in bed waiting for the comforting void to swallow me, the last communication I received ended with a smile. Though I couldn't see the face of the person speaking to me, the smile reassured me.
But it's not a smile. It's punctuation coalesced into a figure representing a physical feature on someone's face. We allow this representation to permeate our world. That's a newer development in language. Before emoticons, I believe the typical distinguisher of facial expression was to simply 'emote' them (e.i. ::smile::). I wonder what our children will see as time continues, whether they will distinguish the difference between punctuation and an actual facial expression; or of the smile will be seen as a colon and a closing parenthesis.
What do you think? About Emoticons? The future of our language as a depiction of figures representing our emotions?