At the risk of unleashing another firestorm of hate comments I have to say I’m not liking the emoticon feature of Gmail.
Following the evolutionary path blazed by colored labels, we present, in all their technicolor glory, emoticons in your mail. – Official Gmail Blog: A picture is worth a thousand words
Now let me begin this post by saying I really like Gmail, but some things that made Gmail so great was how it wasn’t another internet tool for kids. I like how Gmail took email seriously, putting security and usability first, gimmickiness in the trash (where it belongs). But the introduction of emoticons (and the previous EOM) shows how much Gmail is leaning to the childish (and selfish) ways of forum users and MySpacers.
Now I know a lot of people will say, “but I like using smilies in my email” and that’s fine, but like so many other “new features” before it, I fear this one will get abused. People will start using these, not to convey ideas, but to simply play with the silly icons. Personally, I find them distracting, and I was more than capable of “reading” the old-school emoticons before.
So why do I care?
Simple, Gmail was a serious users email. Most early users had seen enough silliness elsewhere to avoid the gimmicks and stick to credible, reliable internet tools. Now, practically everyone on the web is using Gmail and so I can expect to see emoticons showing up everywhere. I just hope the novelty of it wears off soon because I can’t stop people from using them – I can simply ask people not to use them in emails to me.
So I guess my point is this; Please, dear friends, don’t use these emoticons in emails to me. Thanks.
Oh, and if you feel the need to comment (especially if you think I’m an idiot) have the courage to use your real internet name and a real email (a website too, if you got one). I won’t contact you – but don’t hide behind the anonymity of the internet.