IT: Technology news
IT: Technology news

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

IT: Technology news

4.2.5 Emotions

Emotions can be easily misunderstood when you can't see faces or body language. People may not realise you are joking; irony and satire are easily missed. Smileys or emoticons such as :-) and :-( can be used to express your feelings (look at these sideways). Other possibilities are punctuation (?! #@*!), <grin> or <g>, <joke>, or even using mock HTML tags such as <rant>smileys are stupid</rant>.

Remember that many discussion systems only support plain text so you can't rely on fonts and colours to add meaning.

Be aware of your audience: people from widely differing cultures and backgrounds may read what you write online. What you find funny may be offensive to them.

AND DON'T WRITE IN CAPITAL LETTERS – IT WILL COME OVER AS SHOUTING!

Activity 7 (exploratory)

Look at the document below. What emotions are being expressed through smileys and typography? Would Jon and Sue still be be on speaking terms if they hadn't used these devices?

Click on the 'View document' link below to read the e-mail conversation.

View document [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Answer

In Sue's first reply to Jon she expresses her frustration by typing 'Aaaarrrggghhhh'. But she ends that message with a winking smiley. Jon's reply then says 'sorry' in a very small voice! Finally, Sue's reply starts with a happy smiley to show that everything's OK. She uses a large font when she mentions the annoyingly early meeting time.

I feel sure that Jon and Sue would still be friendly after this email exchange. But I have seen email exchanges between colleagues which had the opposite effect, when the participants have not taken care about how they express themselves in their messages.

T175_4

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus