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Netiquette: Emoticons and Real Smiles

Monday, January 10, 2011


Emoticons are over. Overused that is. 

To stave off the winter blues, smile more. Even if you're not feeling it. Studies show that smiling--no matter how you really feel--will create a better mood.

When answering any phone

Do smile because your smile will come through in the tone of your voice and the person calling will be happy he called.

Do smile while closing the phone conversation. Again, even though the caller can't see your smile, the tone will resonate and the person will be pleased that she made the call to you. While ending the conversation with an excuse (you have a conference call coming in), smile while you say good-bye to the caller and he'll know you're telling the truth by the smile-tone in your voice.

Don't say, "Whozze this?" Because it sounds gruff. Get the person to talk by asking questions that get him revealing information about himself until you figure out which of the guys you talked to last night is calling.

Do say your name when you make a call because not everyone has caller ID. It's frustrating when you're not sure, especially on a fuzzy connection when someone walking down a windy street is calling to ask you to meet him for a drink.

Do smile in person. That's why he kept your number, however, don't show those pearly whites because they could be intimidating.

Don't use smiley faces in a business email or text. Equal your client's professionalism in all emails and texts.

Don't use emoticons because they can seem OTT and you don't want to be copying your 6 year old's favorite acronym LOL or your 12 year old's ROTFLHOLCBH, even though it means Rolling On The Floor Laughing Hysterically Out Loud Collecting Bird Feathers.  Etiquette is generational and what works for 10 year olds, seems immature when you've got a high school degree.

DON'T USE UPPERCASE LETTERS WHEN WRITING EMAILS OR TEXTS BECAUSE IT'S ANNOYING!  It looks as though you're angrily screaming at the person you're writing to when you want to be smiling. Use words but not CAPS, unless of course you want to say, SQTM.

Didi Lorillard is a born and bred Newporter. While living in New York City for many years, she published two books, Guide New York, New York: A Counter Chic to Manhattan and Buy the Best. After raising two daughters, she moved back to Newport with her husband, the historian and author, Robert Cowley. For more inspiration and guidance on etiquette and modern manners, visit her Web site, here.


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