Emoticons Don't Make Social Media Rudeness Any Less Hurtful

By manners, miss | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), May 13, 2016 | Go to article overview

Emoticons Don't Make Social Media Rudeness Any Less Hurtful


manners, miss, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Dear Miss Manners * On social media, a person will say something that is rude and then add a "haha" or the term "LOL" at the end, to claim that it was only a joke.

An example is my cousin being told that she has "gained a few pounds since high school, LOL!" Or a person commenting on pictures from a party that my husband and I hosted: "I expect to be invited next time, don't leave me out, haha!" What is the proper way to respond to such "jokes" that are clearly serious comments?

Gentle Reader * Acronyms like "LOL" and smiley-face emoticons arose as a way of clarifying that something was meant to be humorous when delivered in a medium lacking in more subtle cues, such as tone of voice or an actual smile.

But these computer-based solutions to computer-caused problems are not, Miss Manners notes, the etiquette equivalent of the "undo" function. That is known as an apology. As you have noticed, rude or hurtful statements are not improved by knowing that the perpetrator thought they were funny. They should therefore be answered with the electronic equivalent of disapproving silence: disapproving silence.

Dear Miss Manners * Your reply to the woman seeking validation for chatting in the movies once the "cameras rolled" was disappointing. …

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