:-) Birthday :-)

Today is the birthday of the smiley face. Its creator is initiating an annual student contest for “innovation in technology-assisted, person-to-person communication. The Smiley Award, sponsored by Yahoo Inc., carries a $500 cash prize.”  I hope they make a big enough deal out of the results that I catch the announcement because I am really curious what today’s “multi-literate” youth come up with.

The print, images, and sounds of media today are not isolated from words as tools of communication for this generation.  According to Singhei, Donet, and Eshanu, Moldova State University, “To be considered multiliterate, students today must acquire a battery of skills that will enable them to take advantage of the diverse modes of communication made possible by new technologies and to participate in global learning communities.” Clearly, communication is evolving and youth will undoubtedly carry innovation, $500 reward or not.

Yet despite the convenience of the smiley face, et al, I believe words will always do the heavy lifting when it comes to distance communication, the first form of which was writing. William Zinsser say it well (if not best) in his chapter called simply “Words” in On Writing Well: “You’ll never make your mark as a writer unless you develop a respect for words and a curiosity about their shades of meaning that is almost obsessive. The English language is rich in strong and supple words. Take the time to root around and find the ones you want.” If you are a curious rooter of words, Roget’s Thesaurus Class VI, Words Relating to the Sentient and Moral Powers, Section 820 forward has quite a few variations on the :-).

Cheers! Hurrah! Rejoice, o jubilant 🙂 No 😦 today; it your big day!


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