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Smiles, frowns, and winks -- are emoticons really that important?
What are emoticons?
Emoticons have become an oft-used replacement for facial expressions.
Since IM is usually so much less formal than email, emoticons are used a lot more in chats than in email messages. The basic idea is that you're typing something to a chat partner that's supposed to be a joke or perhaps something that you don't want to be misinterpreted. So you type :-) at the end of your chat message, as a cue to your partner that you are just kidding.
What's new in Lotus Sametime is a series of animated emoticons -- so when you are in a chat and type :-) or :-(, what your chat partner actually sees is or .
We have about a dozen of these automatically-animated emoticons in Lotus Sametime.
See this 100% fake conversation that Adam and I had for an example of what an emoticon looks like in a Lotus Sametime chat:
Are emoticons for everybody?
No, emoticons are not for everybody. Some people choose not to use them at all, and even if you are in the habit of using them, they're not appropriate for every online conversation.
If you are worried that what you are about to type might be misinterpreted or that your chat partner is going to miss the punchline to your joke, a voice conversation might be a better idea. (And, of course, since Lotus Sametime has VoIP capabilities built right in, a voice conversation is only a click away.)
But it's nice to have the choice, and Lotus Sametime's new support for emoticons makes chats that much better.
by Stephen Londergan, IBM