If You're Happy and You Know It, Must I Know, Too?
By JUDITH NEWMAN October 21, 2011
MARY LOU DiNARDO checked three times to make sure: was that a smiley face at the end of the latest e-mail from her most dour client?
A West Coast real estate executive, he had an M.B.A. from a prestigious university and was "a very intellectual, serious man," said Ms. DiNardo, president of TK/PR, a public relations firm. "I've been dealing with him for seven years. All of a sudden, while we're discussing problems with a vendor, he's signing off with these smiling or winking faces. I mean, this is a guy who I don't think I've seen with a smile on his actual face."
Ms. DiNardo joins the ranks of professionals who have found themselves on the receiving end of smileys, winks and LOL's, as the emoticon has rather suddenly migrated from the e-mails and texts of teenagers (and perhaps the more frothy adults) to the correspondence of business people who pride themselves on their gravitas.