I am of the opinion that an excessive use of smiley-faces in writing is bad. You ask: “Why, what’s wrong with smiley-faces?” Well, there’s nothing wrong with them. I prefer cats to dogs, but that doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with dogs. This is just my preference. And as such, my desire is not to condemn the opposite opinion, but only to lay out before you the reasons for my bias so that you may consider them.
First of all, I want to make clear that the real problem is not smiley-faces; it is the excessive use of smiley-faces. An occasional smiley is not bad. It serves a purpose. It lets the you know that the author meant to make you smile. And you do. But when a writer has been liberal in his use of smileys, the smiley perfectly placed no longer has special meaning. It has no purpose; It’s been ruined. When I’ve been made to believe that I should be taking great pleasure in every sentence of what I read, I don’t get as much pleasure out of the one sentence that really deserves it.
Secondly, I get tired of being shown when to smile. This may sound weird, but to me this is often the way it seems. I read sentence after sentence ending with: (smile here!), and it’s usually a bit over the top. I would much rather be prompted to smile by the words themselves, and not by the smiley.
Thirdly I believe that the use of smiley faces is promoting poor comunication skills. People are forgetting how to express emotion in writing without them. Are the Shakespeares of today the ones who know how to pen (or finger) the most fitting and unique smileys at the apropriate times? When people know how to express and make understood emotions through the words alone, this is when my most genuine smiles occur. It may be that the only way to revive truely emotive writing in the world is to back away from these grinning little theives.