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It's possible to take a shortcut in Platform English, but your options are limited both by its conservative nature and by the need to clearly communicate with an audience of people who don't know you as well as your sister or a coworker, and who may not even be in the room while you are addressing them.
Anyone who texts knows what the symbols below mean:
: ( : O ; )
And anyone who knows anything about language change can tell you with confidence that such symbols will never be accepted in Platform English.
First of all, they're new. When it comes to written language systems, new = bad. Writing is all about permanence and documentation and leaving a trail. These symbols, unlike our punctuation marks, arose only yesterday, as it were, with the popularity of text messaging.
In their own way, they are a bit of genius--a powerful way to add a lot of meaning in a little space, given the restrictions on the length of text messages imposed by the technology. They are marvelous examples of another characteristic of Platform English: they show a very high compression ratio.
But the conservative urge to keep things the same trumps the communicative efficiency of the emoticons. They will not be allowed in what is considered "formal" writing.
Second, they are just a little too cute for their own good. The nerve of using common punctuation symbols to "paint" a picture of an emotion! As a conservative social institution, Platform English has a finely tuned sense of decorum., as does the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. At Wimbledon, players are expected to wear clothing that is "almost entirely white." As recently as 2014, veteran player Pat Cash withdrew from the competition because the colored soles of his shoes were judged to be in violation of the dress code.
we are not amused. >; (
Possibly. But only if you follow our rules.
* fat chance
**Even if you don't speak German, you probably know what verboten means from the movies. What English word does streng look like? You're right!