Wednesday, September 19th, 2007...10:55 pm
:-) Digital Smiley Face Turns 25
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Everyone has used the smiley face at one point or another, but do you know how its use started?
Twenty-five years ago a Carnegie Mellon University professor named Scott E. Fahlman sent a message proposing the use of a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis as a joke marker. It is the earliest recorded use of the smiley face, which has since become ubiquitous with online communication.
Love them or hate them, emoticons do provide a quick and easy way to show emotion in an otherwise detached medium.
Fahlman posted the emoticon in a message to an online electronic bulletin board at 11:44 a.m. on Sept. 19, 1982, during a discussion about the limits of online humor and how to denote comments meant to be taken lightly.
“I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-),” wrote Fahlman. “Read it sideways.”
The suggestion gave computer users a way to convey humor or positive feelings with a smile — or the opposite sentiments by reversing the parenthesis to form a frown.
Carnegie Mellon said Fahlman’s smileys spread from its campus to other universities, then businesses and eventually around the world as the Internet gained popularity. (source)