Without the emoticon, it’s just plain MEAN!

I’m an old fart who “gets” a lot of things about social media but never really understood the importance of emoticons until Easter Brunch with the family last week.

This morning, Debbie suggested I write a blog post addressing my Epiphany about emoticons that came after a series of eye-openers.

It all began when the conversation during brunch took a turn for the worse. This wasn’t a tragic or horrific turn, but it was startling enough that it gave us pause as we considered the ramifications if we were not able to to extricate ourselves from the quagmire peacefully.

The “Problem” was that we were talking about how we each communicate. Bear in mind the folks in the mix – Son Tyler and his wife Megan (Both mid-20s), Daughters Jessica (16) and Allison (14) , me (53), and Debbie (younger than me) . . . Essentially, 3 generations of people.

We parents were mystified as to how to reach those twenty somethings, for they NEVER answer their phones or reply to emails and only seem to respond to text messages when there’s some benefit in it for them. How RUDE!

The teens are more reachable, but they still rely on us for food, shelter, and transportation, so they are more attentive to our pesky need to communicate all too frequently.

Debbie and I were trying our best to understand WHY they would REFUSE to communicate with us, and we weren’t making much progress when the real truth came out . . . I’m not remembering which one of those varmints (kids) blurted it out, but here it is:

“Well – YOUR text messages are MEAN!”


Debbie and I looked at other in sheer shock and confusion. To my knowledge, neither of us have sent any messages that could possibly be construed as “MEAN” . . . In fact, we try to be as sweet as candy because we crave any sign of life from the other side in the form of a response.

We found our composure and decided to pursue this. It wasn’t long before we discovered one significant difference between OUR text messages and THEIRS.

Our messages were short and ONLY text . . .

Their messages were short and very colorful and often animated with an array of emoticons – they might even be considered as being VIBRANT.

This, of course, was just on the heels of Facebook adding “Reactions” to the “Like” buttons.

and I’ve noticed an ever-increasing collection of new emoticons each time I compose a text.

So . . . without emoticons, the communication is single dimensional – flat – RUDE – MEAN!

With emoticons, it’s humanized – creative – warm – Emotionally communicative.

And here we old farts have been all along saying that these young kids don’t know how to communicate effectively.

They DO know! It’s WE old farts who have been missing the boat because that would require us to CHANGE our ways and learn some new tricks.

All of this was further substantiated/Confirmed in the REBarCamp Session I facilitated last week. In the room was a perfect blend of people from 20 something to 60 something, and we were discussing how “Full Service Agents can survive in this new Virtual environment” . . . and it was the youngest person in the room who commenced complaining that the people in her age group were impossible to work with as clients . . . Interestingly, the older group (80% of the people in the room) DEFENDED those clients as being fiscally responsible, very research oriented, extremely interested in getting good value, and amazingly loyal and passionate referrers.


Hmmm . . . so . . . there’s tremendous value in learning the language of the people you encounter whether they be family or clients . . . and don’t forget the emoticons 🙂

Published by Barry Owen

Strategist-CEO of Pareto Realty Real estate sales Professional Inviter-Facilitator-Practicer of Open Space Technology Opening safe space for people & organizations to self-organize around issues & opportunities BarryOwen.US Invite-Listen-Love

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