I don't hate others' use of emoticons--at all. I think it's very brave to reveal one's weaknesses.
I swore them off because I saw them as little crutches (for me anyway). And, since I wear "cute" as convincingly as a bacon thong, I realized they had to go. It's a bit more dangerous and exciting without them.
People grow to rely on things that absolve them from extra thought or questions. "Is he kidding? Ohhh! He must be. There's a grin face." Baloney!
I will reconsider them as soon as they begin to appear regularly in books, periodicals and the NY Times.
Though I do think they could be fun in other situations, like on pinkslips, court documents, accident reports, medical lab reports, coroners' reports, the NYSE, gravestones, and Ammendments to The Constitution. Oh, and tramp stamps and genital tattoos.
And FTR, Jack, you employ some pretty unique ones that jump around and do cool stuff. Yours are above the fray. However, if everyone started using them, well, then...