Emoticon culture exists as a replacement for body language and tone of voice which is not possible through the medium of electronic communication.
1. Using emoticons to express feelings, inflexion, tone of voice and context when using e-mail/SMS/MSN etc without which may lead the recipient to misconstrue the meaning of what is said or interpret a joke as a serious comment or point of view.
2. The fear of being misinterpreted when using electronic communication that compels you to use emoticons extensively.
3. In e-mail forums, the use of emoticons when making contentious statements and to minimise the backlash and pillory one might otherwise be subjected to for expressing your true opinion.
a: " >:O You complete c***. How can you possibly say that? :S "
b: " : ARRRGH! it woz meant 2 B a joke. I forgot to :P at the end of the sentence :( That's emoticon culture for you :/ "
Note: This is quite different from Emoticon Rape (eg: " LOL! :D :D That was so funny :D :D :D ")
Emoticon Culture is created by fear and peer pressure. A victim of Emoticon Culture could easily descend to the level of Emoticon Whore.