The Winky-faceification of Social Networking

So here’s something I haven’t understood since 1994.

My mum has accused our society of getting more & more sarcastic since I can remember, and apparently I am mostly responsible for what she considers the inevitable snarky downfall of society. However, the second we all started using teh Interwebs, we totally forgot about the snarkification of the world & decided to take umbrage at damn near everything. You can’t post a thing in humour anymore without adding


or :p

or, if you’re really trying to be cutesy, ;0)

I rapidly discovered the web’s inability to discern sarcasm when I joined the Depeche Mode mailing list. I was met with a mix of amusement (people who obviously have read a lot of humourous English lit or spent any time talking with Alan Wilder himself) and outrage. “Who is this newbie raggamuffin and her profound hatred of our beloved DM? Clearly she is a flaming bitch, who reads 300+ posts a day about Depeche Mode because she hates them.” Yeah, I am not kidding. I wish I were.

Then I discovered the winky face.

It served me well with Depeche Mode fans. I abandoned it again when I joined the Recoil mailing list, thinking “Surely these are people who comprehend things said in fun, since they are fans of Alan Wilder specifically, and eschew Fletcherism.” Not so much. The winky face was added back to my online vocabulary like so much LOL and BRB.

However, the people who thought I was a bitchmonster online met me in person and found me fricken’ delightful. What gives? Is it my little button nose? Somebody suggested that. Most people say it’s the boobs, though.

I have another theory: Do we all become full on pussies the moment we log on? Is it ‘cos of teh readings? We have to do teh readings? I’m a little deaf in one ear, so to me, teh listenings is always a little harder.

I’ve noticed that people do get obnoxious online. The ever shrinking anonymity of the ‘net affords some the leeway to get asstastic with people they don’t know, have no reason to dislike, and thrive on persecuting. These people are arseholes and you’ve all met them. I get that. However, I’ve also noticed that you can’t post to a list, board, or blog these days with a humourous intro to a heavy subject without somebody getting their girly girl panties in a bunchety bunch. “MY GOD, you’re a MONSTER,” these people say. Meanwhile, the “monster” is playfully arguing for the building of another no-kill kitten shelter, and anybody with half a brain would totally get that.

I myself have fallen prey to the lack of winky faces on some sites, messages, & tweets. I’m so used to the stupid things that when I meet someone online who does not insult my intelligence, I have to reread to understand the message. Maybe we’ve all just gotten used to signs & symbols. Maybe we weren’t all pussies to begin with, but our minds got mooshy with signs & symbols.

There’s a project in Europe where some towns are removing all traffic lights & signs & seeing what happens to driver behaviour. It turns out, drivers get better, pedestrians get smarter, and accidents go down. People self regulate. When we’re allowed to use our brains, we develop reason. We can discern. We become discriminating, in the good, not-only-straight-people-can-suffer-through-marriage way.

I propose a de-winkyface-ification. Let’s all try to refrain from using winkies and tongueys and whatnot. Let’s go back to dry British wit, even if we’re not. Let’s Colbert our world. He has yet to explain that he is not actually a hardline unthinking right winger. Some people really do believe that he is, because clearly they need winky faces tattooed inside their eyeballs.

Your grandmother might stop talking to you for a week, but you could also help prevent Alzheimer’s, because the frontal cortex will be engaged. This is assuming your grandmother knows how to use a computer.

Are you with me or against me, fellow pussies?


2 thoughts on “The Winky-faceification of Social Networking

  1. Carter Dotson says:

    Look, it’s because I’m an idiot, but the first thing that came to my mind to comment soon as I read that last line? “I love pussy!” I blame you. Well, you’re not the only one, for sure. I am a straight guy, after all. Cross-dressing @aircrash not withstanding.I don’t trust the no traffic lights thing, though. Small towns, maybe. You put that in a large town, where there is statistically higher odds that idiots who aren’t paying attention or just are stupid are driving about? The loss of reason development is a minuscule cost, I think. People are stupid enough, and I don’t want to be there when they start to try and develop those skills while driving. BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO DIE. ;)Now that’s a totally creepy winky face.

  2. Morgan says:

    I have *totally* noticed myself falling to the lack of winky faces! On the other hand, I’ve lamented the ability to convey tone in text for decades, so I don’t think I’ll be able to “quit” them.The traffic lights experiment is actually a smaller offshoot of a more interesting experiment that also removed curbs and sidewalks in some busy urban intersections. Accidents dropped to almost zero. The reason is theorized to me much the same as you mentioned, which is that most accidents occur when people pay more attention to the “rules” than to reality. I have to confess that I’ve noticed myself starting to cross intersections when the light turns green, without even checking for cross-traffic. ‘Cause it’s my turn, right?I think I still have that article somewhere…

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