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Emoticons: Should You Use Them In Posts?

This is another one of those questions that can go both ways: Should you use emoticons in your posts? Well, yes… and no. Again, I’ll give you the opinion of both camps and then I’ll tell you how I handle it.

emoticons

Yes, use emoticons, but sparingly

The reasons some people prefer blogs over websites, both as a visitor and as a blogger, is because they have a more personal feel. They’re a lot more flexible than a static site and you can get creative to form better connections with your readers. Because of this “personal” touch, many bloggers agree that using emoticons sparingly adds a bit of personality or whimsy to your post, making you appear more human.

Of course, the keyword is “sparingly”. Using a smiley face at the end of each paragraph is just as bad as ending every statement with an exclamation point. You come off as an overly excitable school girl. Not to mention the fact that all of those smiling yellow faces are distracting for your readers. Most pro-bloggers suggest that if you do use emoticons you use only one, somewhere near the end of the post.

No. Do not use emoticons. They’re unprofessional

The other camp is firmly on the side of not using emoticons at all. In fact, some would like to completely eliminate the little guys from the World Wide Web.

Only use them on opinion posts and think about it before you do

When I have a business decision to make I always like to think: What would Donald Trump do? If Donald Trump were making a verbal presentation, would he highlight certain phrases by putting on a big, goofy grin? Would he jump up and down in excitement at the end of every paragraph? I doubt it.

Most of the time he’s asking people to let him handle their money, which is pretty much what you’re doing with your blog. You want people to have enough faith in you and your abilities so they’ll feel comfortable opening up their wallet.

On the other hand, I’m sure Mr. Trump also has more personal meetings with staff or business associates and at times, he probably does let down his hair and have a little fun. But those are personal meetings, where he’s trying to bond or network with someone, not convince them to part with their money.

Personally, I might add a smiley in an opinion post or a controversial post where I’m trying to lighten the mood. I love writing both types of posts but I don’t ever want to leave my readers feeling angry or upset so I always try to be fair, present both sides of the story, and if necessary, add in a smiley to relieve the tension.

There are too many opportunities for emoticons to backfire. If you’re using them because you’re afraid your content might offend someone, then reword your content. Not everyone will interpret your smiley face the way you want them to, some will think you’re being sarcastic which will only make your content sound that much worse.

So, should you use emoticons in your posts? Yes, but even more sparingly than the one camp suggests. Especially if you want your readers to take you seriously. There are much better ways to bond with your readers that will produce much better results.

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4 Comments (Add one)

  1. Lisa

    I would say very sparingly Ste. Only use them if you feel comfortable that your audience will be fine with them. It can cheapen the look if used all the time. Used sparingly it shows a little of your personality which can be good.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Thanks for your comment Lisa! What I usually do is not using them in posts, but using them in comments since it’s more like a discussion and emoticons can help “putting a face and a tone on your words”.

  2. Carolyn

    Hi Ste, I completely agree with you. I only use emoticons in comments, not in my blog posts, no matter how much I am tempted to use them. As writers, we should be able to harness the written word effectively enough to convey our sentiments in our articles.

    But in comments, emoticons can make the author seem friendlier and more approachable. If you want readers to comment then you have to make them feel welcome and emoticons can help with that.

    I liked your Donald Trump analogy. While I don’t sell anything on my website, I need my readers to trust that I know what I’m talking about with tech. If my articles are peppered with emoticons then I will seem like a school girl, as you pointed out.

    My exception to this was when I wrote about emoticons in an article explaining what they were. But even then I used them in images and not in the text of my article.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Hey Carolyn, I’m glad you agree with me! :)

      Articles look a lot more professional if they don’t look like they were written by a teenager (no offense for my teenager readership).