The following post is written with the upmost standards of self-aknowledged hypocracy.
The emoticon is the antithesis of eloquent and effective expressive writing. When one no longer needs to guide the tone of one's writing as a simple
will suffice, something has surely gone wrong.
Long past are the days when emphasis and rhythm had to be crafted in order for a person's written message to be correctly passed on. The arguement is that any internet based text, be it instant messaging or forums, is more akin to spoken word than to literature or written report. Therefore the emoticon serves to replace that which is lost in tone of voice and facial expression.
I however put it to you that emoticons factor into the "London, England Syndrome" whereby editors in newspapers took up the habit of including both the city and the country in which it is located in the datelines of articles; therefore eliminating the need for the reader to engage the grey-matter and actually think. By removing the need for people to both read and write with the effects of the semantic and vocabulaic* structure in mind, we have truly participated in the loss of creativity in the scribblings of our fellow humans.
* If this isn't a real word, I hereby coin it