[adopts look of knowledgeable smugness] I read recently that 70% of human communication is conveyed in body language and facial expression, which is why the meanings of text messages and emails are so often misconstrued. So, it makes sense that people often use smileys in their instant messages and emails – they clear up potential misunderstandings.
(For example: 'I hate you ;-)' means that, actually, I'm well acquainted and friendly enough with you to know that you'll know that I'm actually quite fond of you, whereas 'I hate you' can probably be taken at face value.)
But I have an issue: I can't bring myself to use the little gits. [arches eyebrow and face contorts into quizzical expression] What is the cut-off age for smiley use? [appears doleful] I already feel too old.
[relaxes into a kind smile] If you, on the other hand, don't feel too old, then Art.Lebedev has just the thing for you. This is the design troupe responsible for the genius that is the Optimus keyboard, and I can't help but think that its Ridibundus smiley cushions have a huge potential customer base. What keen IMer wouldn't like to rest their tech-stuffed head on one (or several) of these after a frenetic messaging session?
A set of six costs around US$25 and is available here