I don't know whether smilies make the world a better place for everyone, but they do for me :) I use them in replies to comments or questions, but I don't use them in hubs, because they don't usually seem appropriate. I think it's good to practise expressing yourself without the aid of smilies, to find a way of writing the smile in there, if you know what I mean? I think it can be done. But I do like them, nonetheless, and I think they have their place.
On the other hand, some people hate them and get rather vocal and angry about the use of them. Each to their own is all I can say about that. It's a matter of personal taste I suppose.