Wednesday, August 15, 2007


A significant part of this University of Phoenix MBA program I have thus far experienced is an on going message board discussion. Usually we are given scenarios and the prof prompts the class to discuss certain aspects of the scenario with a set of discussion questions.

I find these conversations incredibly entertaining. I'm a dork, but I love a good class conversation, especially one in which I play devil's advocate (did somebody say being a Catholic in a Lutheran dominated Christ College class?). So, as has been my trademark, I take the unpopular side and poke holes in feeble arguments.

However, the majority have a weapon that not even I can combat. Everyone, it seems, is busting out this secret weapon in scarily high numbers, especially for a graduate level class. It is unnecessary, and it is terrifying.

It is the emoticon.

I hate the damn things. I don't even like ":)" But the animated little faces irritate me to no end. As if making a point that a company shouldn't lay off a group of people because it's corporate greed hits all the more home with a little yellow face wagging a finger at me. Needless to say, it's awful.

So, I was quite proud of myself for this little jab at the end of my most recent "Drew's being a pain in the ass by continuing to be the only one to argue this side" post.

"Granted we don't have enough information in the scenario but I feel compelled to defend Global Communication here as the class really seems to have written them off as the bad guy and the greedy corporate entity. Surely we all have enough real world experience to know that issues such as these are ever really black and white as far as good guys and bad guys go. I don't pretend to say that with the information we have Global Communication should get a smiley face emoticon, but I don't know that we should condemn them either.



CHCgirl said...

i'm terribly guilty of overusing it as well.
sorry :-) i must drive you nuts. :-)

JR said...


lonewolf said...


As we now go through discussions, we will have many 'disagreements'--which I see as very constructive--business decisions are not one-sided, there is generally not a single answer either.

I know I will often take the 'devil's advocate' position during some discussions--so I do appreciate when students take that or a similar role.

So, please, all continue to state your opinions and also to question your classmates' opinions--which also means that we need to be able to 'defend' our opinions."

While I appreciate that my position had to be recertified by this special prof posting, I just wish she had come out and said, "Drew is right. Kill the damn smiley."

lonewolf said...

From today's assigned reading:

"E-mail aficionados try to clarify the emotional tone of their messages by inserting graphic faces called emoticons, or "smileys." However, some experts warn that smileys do not easily solve the difficult task of communicating emotions through e-mail."

Organizational Behavior: Emerging Realities for the Workplace Revolution, 3e
Chapter 11: Communicating in Teams and Organizations
ISBN : 0072931477 Author : Steve L. McShane, Mary Ann Von Glinow
copyright © 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies

JR said...

I find emoticons can best be used when you're trying to convey something delicately.

For example:

"When I see you next, we can discuss ways to fix your hair :)"

"Thanks for the short notice on the Talsky report :)"

"Sorry I offended you last Thursday with that comment about the black folks. I probably need to watch my language :)"

"No big deal that you forgot my birthday :), I probably would have forgotten yours if I hadn't written it all over the pictures I took of you outside your house. The ones posted on my bedroom wall :)"

In a way, it's like the giggle that comes with addressing a serious topic in conversation. Sometimes handling something lightly with humor is a good way to breach a difficult conflict. Emoticons are very useful in this regard.