Emoticonics Anonymous: A Five-and-a-Quarter Step Program

Since I've been posting regularly on a few forums I've come to realize that...


...I am an Emoticonic. :(

I am addicted to using the little semi-colon and closed-parenthesis symbol willy-nilly online to convey "I am joking here, friends."

As a result, I subject my fellow posters to rivers of smiley-faces dripping down their screen.

I can't help myself. :( It's just when posting, I become concerned that no amount of editing will ensure everyone gets the joke. I worry about angry mobs, villagers with torches pounding down my virtual door, all for the case of a misunderstanding or a casual opinion they might disagree with. :(

And in the stress of it-- I find myself reaching for that semi-colon or colon...

The parens are only a short slide from there. :(

And I know I'm not alone. Heck, hundreds... thousands... maybe even hundreds of thousands of people out there in cyberspace abuse emoticons every day. So how can we put an end to it?

Well, now there's Emoticonics Anonymous, :) the support group designed specifically to gently assist people with Emoticon Addiction and guide us along the path to reducing-- and eventually ending-- the unnecessary addition of smileys, frownies and surprised faces.

The program has easy, step-by-step instructions, that allow Emoticonics to live happier, more emoticon-free lives, no matter what type of feedback we expect to receive. And it all begins with the first step:

1.) Admit you have a problem.

Hi, my name is Jenn, and I am an Emoticonic :) I've abused emoticons for... oh... going on three years now.

2.) Apologize to those you have hurt through your addiction.

Blogcatalog friends, CottageLiving Forum buds, Friends of Cabbages... I owe you all a huge apology :( for littering your forums, and your blog comments, with an endless supply of unnecessary punctuation in the form of goodwill. :) It was my personal insecurity that my online compadres wouldn't understand my tone-- my sense of humor-- that led to such graphics atrocities. I hope you can forgive me. :) :) :)

3.) Begin by writing your first cheeky online sentence emoticon-free.

"If Katie Couric has one more eye-job, her chin will have a navel.".... : .... no.....: ..... must resist.... ;...... must not ..... :) :) :)

Ugh. Off the wagon again!

4.) Do not be discouraged if your first attempt at eliminating the emoticon is not a success. Don't assign blame. Just keep trying.

"If Mark Wahlberg can learn to raise one eyebrow, this means he'll have TWO facial expressions."... : Must try not to.... ; Must not semi-colon......... ;..... NO parenthesis.... NO... NO....

Phew! That was a close one.

5. ) Take emoticon reduction one day at a time. Don't forget to say the Emoticonics Anonymous pledge.

"Give me the strength this day to respect my fellow posters, to post wisely, kindly, logically, to communicate clearly and, above all, to post emoticon-free."

5 and 1/4) Find friends who also have issues with emoticon abuse to act as part of a network.

I hereby invite my fellow Emoticonics to stand up, and share their stories. When you attempt to quit smiley-facing, you do a very brave thing. :) .... (oops... I'll work on it.)

Vote for this post at Humor-blogs, a wholly unofficial sponsor of Emoticonics Anonymous, The Animated Bullets Liberation Association, and Adsense Clutter Cleaners.


ender said...


you speak blasphemy!

Jenn Thorson said...

Ender- :)

Oops! I'm backsliding, backsliding! :O

Da Old Man said...

I love emoticons, and have no problem with them. I could quit them any time that I want to. I control my emoticons, they don't control me. But I will admit some of them are weird. I hate the multi-tiered ones. :-o
I only use 2 part ones. More than that is just wrong, and a sign of addiction. :)

Jenn Thorson said...

DaOldMan- Well, you have to want to cut back on the emoticons, so I won't lecture you. Actually, I've only seen you have an emoticon now and then... it's not like you need an emoticon with every sentence, or even every paragraph. So I think you'll be okay.

Did you know a small amount of emoticons per day actually helps reduce blood pressure? :)

Tiggy said...

I used to work with a girl who added :) to every e-mail she sent, nomatter how innapropriate. Whether it was "Dear Sir, your report is attached. :)" or "The printer is broken. :)" and so on.

Someone in HR had a sense of humour when they sent her an e-mail saying "You're fired. :)"

Jay said...

It started with the little 'colon-plus-closed bracket' smiley face.. It was harmless, it really was. No-one was hurt, and I only used them in adult environments - and I could control my use! Ask anyone!

But what the newbies don't realise is ... that's where it starts, but soon you'll be ... oh! I can't say it!

Nonono! Don't make me! I'm so embarrassed! I ..

Oh, okay. Admit I have a problem. Okay. *Deep breath*

People - now I've progressed to .. to .. Aaghh! I've progressed to ... savinganimatedgifsonPhotobucketandinsertingthemintoposts.

There. I said it.

Can I go now? I feel a strong need for a teeny 'fans self' emoticon, or at least a little 'blush'.

Jenn Thorson said...

Tiggy- The horrors-- shunned like that, rebuked, cast aside, only because her emoticons were a cry for help!

HR should have understood the issues emoticonics have in the workplace. The temptation is just too great.

You know, with that kind of anti-emoticon bias, why, I bet she could SUE. Emoticonics ARE in the minority right now. Though the problem steadily grows.

Jay- Oh, you are so BRAVE to come forward and share your emoticon abuse like this. Here, have a virtual tissue.

We're all terribly proud of you here at Cabbages. It's fairly common actually, that it starts with emoticon abuse but then moves on to Compulsive Photobucket Disorder (CPD). So understand-- you are not alone. Why, I have seen people that embed hundreds of Photobucket images each day, in virtually every thread.

So, I hope you will see, you're welcome here. And thank you so much for stepping forward like you did. You are on the road to recovery.

Bobbie said...

Sure I use emoticons in the forums, and sometimes in email -- but it's just a social thing, and I can quit any time I want to. Really. :-P

Jenn Thorson said...

Bobbie- Ah, behind the sunshine avatar is such hidden pain... I hope you'll someday come to terms with your problem.

If you do, just remember, Emoticonics Anonymous will be here for you.

Greg said...

Yah, I'm an emoticonic--whatsittoyah? : )~

But I always try to add an extra space between, so the smile doesn't look so goofily wide-spread beneath those beady little eyes.

:L :( B )

(What's "fans self"? I don't think I know that one...)

Jenn Thorson said...

Greg- A very defensive emoticonic... Ah, you need more time to come to terms with it. I understand.

I beliee Jay's "fans self" meant an animated emoticon fanning itself to fend off the heat, be dramatic, etc.

Meg said...

I'm kind of addicted to the strike-through command, myself.

Da Old Man said...

Oh no :o
Reading the comments make me realize I have CPD and Strike through itivenessosity.

I can barly post without at least one strike through and 2 PB hits.

Drowsey Monkey said...

I don't usually use them in my post, but I do in comments :P :)

And I don't think it's a problem ;)

It's not like it's an illness or something :O

It's perfectly normal :\

Jay said...

Jenn - thanks so much for the tissue. *Sniff* It's so good to find someone who understands. But you don't know how bad my CPD is! Even my sub-albums have sub-albums ...

Nice to know it has a name, though! :D

Aggh! Fell off the wagon, darnit! :(

Oops. *Bangs head on desk*

Jenn Thorson said...

Meg- Ah, you are more advanced than I. I haven't been able to figure out strike-through, which is just as well, as I can see how it could be addictive. So much to say... so much to cross out... You poor dear.

DaOldMan-- I have seen your strike throughs-- I don't know if it's reached the level of addiction-- perhaps you're like George Burns with his two martinis a day-- a few strike throughs each day will keep you limber and happy.

Drowsey-- Oh, dear... Maybe you should write down every time you add an emoticon and keep a diary... or, you know, have your sister do it. :) I know she's good at that.

Jay- Nested sub-albums-- that is serious. Well, don't give up, you're trying. One sentence at a time, my friend. One sentence at a time...

DeadRooster said...

I am an emoticonic. I'm also known for my overuse of the em-dash and exclamation point. Reading my responses to comments on my blog can give you a heart attack! :)

(notice that I ended this comment with an exclamation point and a happy face. I just can't help myself.)

Jenn Thorson said...

DeadRooster- Exclamation addiction affects one in five. I feel your pain.

Chat Blanc (aka Sandy) said...

is there an intervention team :P available to help those completely lost :/ to the addiction :o and in deep denial? :{

Jenn Thorson said...

Sandy- We'll get right on it. In the meantime, step away from the punctuation. Leave the keyboard alone. Get up from your computer chair and go outside. Remain clear of any typewriters, cell phones and iPods. We'll be there as soon as we can.

chyna said...

I think CottageLiving is an enabler actually. I mean they give us such cute faces to use (and they add more when I ask). I personally love to use my Smiley Central smilies. ;)

Jenn Thorson said...

Chyna- You know, it's true-- Rex found that cheeky-looking emoticon for the forum just specifically because you'd asked. The selection is quite good. Why, for an emoticonic, CottageLiving is like bellying up to the bar for an AA member!

Speedcat Hollydale said...

Ohhh shucks ... now I have 2 problems :-(

(whoopps!!!) it's worse than I ever knew. At least you don't have the grid with 40 more emoticons 8~)

SpeedyCat :P

Speedcat Hollydale said...

\_/ he hee

Jenn Thorson said...

Speedcat Hollydale- No, no emoticon grid. Here at Of Cabbages and Kings we make our emoticons the old-fashioned way-- we punctuate them! :)

You are quite deft with the emoticon punctuation, I see. I think you've moved from the Emoticon Abuse area into Emoticon Fine Art. Artist do get some leeway. :)

Anonymous said...

After posting my new blog entry (about emoticons) on Wordpress today, I decided to go in search of other people suffering from emoticon addiction.... holy crap, there are A LOT of us out there!

I must admit, after reading your blog on the subject, I grumbled a bit because I don't like it when someone is funnier than I am. I'm forced to laugh and then I get pissed off... it's a weird range of emotions to experience in the span of ten seconds. Glad no one was watching me.... or were they? Along with my emoticon addiction, I'm also REALLY paranoid.

I like your five step program - I always thought twelve was kind of overkill. If I ever decide to kick the habit, I know where to turn :-) Obviously I'm not ready....