The Age of the Emoticon

Although I am not a frequent user of emoticons myself, I can’t say I’m as worked up about them as this person.

I was interested to learn, however, that the inventor of the emoticon is known to history: Scott Fahlman.

On Sept. 19, 1982, the Carnegie Mellon computer scientist sent out a message with the subject head “:-).” It was intended to clarify communication on a message board at the university, and it read, “I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-). Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use :-(.”

For some reason, there is no mention of emoticons on Fahlman’s CV.

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