One simply can't deny that in casual conversation, on IRC for instance, the following line could be taken various ways, depending on emoticons (as an example): Yeah, my day was great. How is one to tell if it's sarcasm or not? If I want to communicate to a friend just like I would in real life (that means not saying "Yeah, my day was bloody one hell of a great day, hah yeah right"), all I have to do is add something like a :P and all is settled. Yeah, my day was great :P A great part of real life sarcasm is in the inflection of tone and pitch and varying accents on particular words--things which obviously cannot be easily typed in words. Saying, Yeah, my day was GREAT, or some other variant doesn't quite pull off the sarcasm, either.

I feel no shame in using an emoticon, and if someone else decides to respect me less for the use of one, so be it. they're respecting me less for ridiculous, superficial reasons.