Today, September 19th, the computer smiley is celebrating it’s 30th birthday!
Fahlman is credited with originating the first smiley emoticon, which he thought would help people on a message board at Carnegie Mellon to distinguish serious posts from jokes. He proposed the use of :-) and :-( for this purpose, and the symbols caught on. The original message from which these symbols originated was posted on September 19, 1982. The message was recovered by Jeff Baird on September 10, 2002 and is quoted:
19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E. Fahlman :-)
From: Scott E. Fahlman
I propose that 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
Though credited with originating the smiley emoticons, he was not the first emoticon user; a similar marker appeared in an article of Reader’s Digest in May 1967. In an interview printed in the New York Times in 1969, Vladimir Nabokov noted, “I often think there should exist a special typographical sign for a smile — some sort of concave mark, a supine round bracket”