7 Email Etiquette Rules for Email using Emoticons

5 Emoticons You Didn’t Know

Emoticons are nonsense punctuation that look like little drawings if you use your imagination. Quite often the email providers will have their own graphical version of your emoticon, and it will pop up in place of your nonsense punctuation.

There are so many eastern and western emoticons that it is hard to know which ones are going to appear as you write them, and which will translate into a mini graphic, which is known as an emoticon or a smiley.

Here are five emoticons that will translate into almost any emailing system.

  •  <3 Heart
  •  0 🙂 Angel
  •  := Beaver
  •  ~:o Baby
  •  *<):o) Clown

Why use Emoticons?

They are very good at clarifying the tone of your email message. Even if you use perfect English, it is still hard to convey your true emotions. Deliberate exaggeration, hyperbole, sarcasm and flirting are very hard via text because it is hard to convey a tone. For example, if a person is poking harmless fun at another person then it may seem cold or almost serious if the writer does not make sure to set the right tone. Using emoticons is a good way of setting the correct tone.

Email Etiquette Rules

1. Emotional Clarity

If you are genuinely angry then an angry emoticon may help to point that out. If you are only teasing or a little embarrassed, then you may convey that message with an emoticon.

2. Showing Sentiment

Show how you feel or think with an emoticon -a heart may show a person that you care about them, and a clown emoticon may show that you are only being playful.

3. Write the text first and place emoticons last

If you place emoticons as you write your text, then you may find that the email reads incorrectly. You may switch from a happy subject to a sad one within the space of a paragraph, which is fine, but a cluster of happy and sad faces in such a small space is going to set a misleading tone.

4. Do not use them when critiquing other people

If you are critiquing the work, efforts or actions of another person then it is no place for emoticons. Even the angry emoticons are used with an air of fun to them, and critiquing people is a sensitive issue. Emoticons are tools that are too blunt to deal with sensitive issues.

5. Do not let emoticons damage your grammar

This is especially true if your emoticon symbol does not turn into a graphic on your emailing system. Putting an emoticon in the middle of a sentence is very poor etiquette, because it can easily skew the meaning of the message. Save your emoticons for the end of the sentence after which you press enter to start a new line.

6. Don’t forget that some emoticon graphics will not appear on other people’s emails

Some email emoticon images will simply not appear correctly on other peoples email message. Cross browser compatibility and mobile to desktop may also play a part in creating emoticon image errors. Therefore, you should always write your emails as if the emoticons are not there. For example, if your only indication that your text is being sarcastic is an emoticon then a misunderstanding may inevitably happen.

7. Re-read your own message

The tone you write your message in may not be the tone you portray when you add in your emoticons. You should read your message at the end to be sure you have struck the correct tone.

The author, Hugo Riddle, is an enthusiast about the use of emoticons however when he’s not writing emails he is writing travel destinations and reviews for accommodation such as cosy Lake District inns in Cumbria, England.