I use an emoticon here and there. Usually, it’s something done along the lines of working on a project with tight deadlines, coordinating testing with a few people. I might find an error in the code but everything else worked fine, and I need to let the developer know. The smiley emoticon sends the message, “Hey, everything looks great, thanks for what you’ve done so far, but this one thing isn’t quite working yet,” instead of “OMG this is crap! What is wrong with you?!” When deadlines are looming and everyone has a million things going on, I always want to make sure the email recipient knows that I appreciate what they’ve done, but I need a little more help, not that I’m picking apart their work.