Good old-fashioned telephone conversations are, at least for now, being compromised for the quickly written word, a shift in communication that is mostly fine, except that it sometimes leads to ambiguities that tone of voice could account for.
Sarcasm and irony are difficult to convey via text message. So are declarative statements that aren't necessarily intended to sound angry. College Humor's "8 New and Necessary Punctuation Marks" tries to fix this issue, and even offers downloadable versions of their suggested additions, including "The Sinceriod" and "Sarcastices."
These additions would be a great way to make texting more clear, even if they meant the loss of myriad texting styles (it takes a certain type of person to frequently employ the semicolon via text, another type altogether to purposefully misspell words in order to convey irony, yet another to send a shooting star emoji to demonstrate facetious anger after being ignored for days).
My personal style is mostly tame. I try to use passive-aggressive periods as infrequently as possible, and to use emojis sparingly -- if it can't be said with words, is it worth saying? But there is one emoticon I liberally tack on to texts: ";(" or "the winky sad face" (WSF).
WSF may be the most versatile emoticon, in spite of the fact that it didn't make McSweeny's Important New Emoticons list, which featured "Flirty Ash Wednesday" and "No one in my family has any response to what you just said." Its main power is conveying self-awareness; it's a way of saying, "I know that this information I'm sharing with you, be it a video of a bunny eating raspberries, or a mundane detail about my day, is almost entirely petty." It's also a means of noting that your problems are not all that important relative to the world's larger problems, as in "they didn't have the dress in my size. I am so pissed. ;(" When used in this way, WSF is akin to the humblebrag -- it's a sort of humblewhine.
It's arguable (if your name is Jonathan Franzen) that a culture which necessitates such an emoticon (or emoticons at all) is a culture that is being destroyed by irony and is starved for sustenance. It is arguable that a suitable response to silly celebrity news is to ignore it, that the suitable response to a bad day is to keep it to yourself.
To which I say: ;(
And also: I hope my life is always colored not only by a serious pursuit of my passions, but also with videos of bunnies eating raspberries.
Here are ten of the thousands of scenarios for which ";(" would be a useful emoticon:
"Gym or ice cream? ;("
"Two of the same present. ;("
"Channing Tatum is Gambit in new X-men movie?! ;("
"I want a dog. ;("
"Whole Foods is so crowded. ;("
"I can't, I'm watching The Bachelorette. ;("
"My favorite bagel spot was out of whole-wheat everything bagels, so I had to get a plain everything bagel. ;("
"He's a 'poet'. ;("
"James Franco. ;("