Someone recently asked me why I so often include this symbol 8) on my tweets and online writing. They told me they had done some searching online for the meaning of this symbol and had no luck in finding anything. I was kind of shocked for two reasons. One; that there is nothing online about this symbol(or related symbols) and two; that there was someone out there who didn't inherently understand the meaning of it.
We discussed it for a bit and I jokingly stated that maybe I should wiki it since I'm really the only person I know of that uses this particular version of the symbol on a regular basis. She thought it was a great idea and I countered with deciding to do a short blog on it instead....for now any ways.
So here it is, for those that don't already understand the deep and unfathomable meaning of this symbol 8) it's just a smile. Just turn it 90 degrees to the right and you see it immediately. A lot of people use the old standard smiley face :) which is also very nice, but I found that it was too impersonal. I also see people using =) for a smiley face and this also is a fine example of the art. I've just always(since getting online) preferred the 8) smiley because it just seemed more open. I mean look at the eyes 8. two open circles eyes wide open to what is to come. Of course the fact that you can see what life is and can be good or bad and still smile is very important.
So for me this symbol 8) is my simple way to send a smile along to those I interact with online. I can't always(in fact seldom am I able to) send a smile directly, so this lets me at least send the thought of a smile along. Better yet, it's a smile with eyes wide open to the hope and despair, the love and hate, the joy and pain we all go through. It's a reminder that as long as you can still smile, there will always be that hope over despair, that love over hatred, and that joy over pain to keep you going.
It may be sappy or silly to a lot of people, but I like to try and bring some glimmer of hope or goodness to those I have the privilege of meeting. That is why I try to send smiley faces when ever appropriate and sometimes when not quite so appropriate. I think if we could all smile at each other a little more often, it could make a difference. At the very least it couldn't hurt. So if you get a tweet or something scribbled on your wall and there is a smiley at the end, even though it isn't a huge effort, it is still someone wanting to put that little extra into the world. Take it for what it is and maybe pass it along to the next person you type at 8)