Today the emoticon turns 30 years old :-) Here is an extract from The New York Times on its 20th anniversary.
By KATIE HAFNER
Published: September 19, 2002
TWENTY years ago today, Scott E. Fahlman, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, posted an electronic message on a university bulletin board system suggesting that a colon, a minus sign and a parenthesis be used to convey a joking tone.
Dr. Fahlman’s brief post was almost an aside, made in the midst of a discussion about something else. But his idea caught on, and the typed smiley face and its many variants, known as emoticons, are now fixtures online.
For years Dr. Fahlman, now a researcher at I.B.M., thought that his post, stored on a form of magnetic tape that is now obsolete, had disappeared. But this year some colleagues embarked on an dig through Carnegie Mellon’s digital archives in the hope of unearthing the original post. Last week, after months of detective work, they succeeded.
The post was a simple one, even briefer than he remembered.
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 :-(Read the rest…