In written text, it can be difficult to convey the appropriate sentiment. For example, if I tell someone to "go fly a kite", I could say this with a smile and/or wink in person and they would know I'm joking. Is there an accepted way to convey the intended sentiment via written text, particularly via e-mail?
I often see the smilie face emoticon :) or :-) or ;) associated with comments that are meant without offence/offense ;).
Is the emoticon the best/only way we have to communicate a comment intended to be taken in jest?
Note: This may be in the context of a formal e-mail to a group, where the intent of the jest is to disarm an emotionally charged topic/situation. The question is not in regards to what 12-year olds are using to convey jest via acronyms in text messaging.