I use smilies. A lot. The idea is to better show the emotion that goes with the bland flat text I send out. But I find there are some definate limitation is smilies. When someone receives good news, I will congradulate them and send them a smile. If they get bad news, rather than be depressing, I like to give a supportive smile. Though, in retrospect, I could see how the support of smile could be misconstrewed as "I'm happy your life sucks." Should I leave off the smilie? Put a depressing frown on there? Start designing my own special funk-o-licious smilie set for those special occurances? Who knows.
When I am talking to people via AIM, almost every line has smilie of some sort. It's just that I am generally a happy guy and I like to share in the joy.
But when they are used so often, do they lose meaning, or just it add to the conversation by showing not just what I am saying but also what I am feeling?
Oh well, a little smile never hurt anyone.