Electronic mail is a wonderful thing but have you ever thought about how messages can often be misconstrued by their recipients?

I don’t use smilies or emoticons; I’ve always believed them to be childish and unnecessary.

A recent experience has caused me to rethink that position.

I’ve got a sense of humour that often outstretches the joke; it works on a face to face level, you know, where there’s eye contact and a voice-tone semiotic…

In cold print, however, it seems that what I intend to be funny can come across as offensive.

I won’t go into details but, if the person in question is reading this, it was a joke: I had a copy of the Goodfellas script on my desk and a particular dialogue between Tommy Devito and Henry Hill seemed somehow – with the appropriate alteration of cases – relevant to our conversation.

So I altered it appropriately and worked it into the routine, sorry if you misunderstood.

I still won’t be using smilies and emoticons.