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Smiley face to turn 30 on September 19

Last Updated: Sunday, September 9, 2012 - 18:04

London: Emoticon, the small yellow icons without which many of the SMS’ and e-mails are incomplete, will turn 30 on September 19.

On 19, September 1982 at 11:44 a.m., Professor Scott Fahlman of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, sent an email on an online electronic bulletin board that included the first use of the sideways smiley face.

“I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-) Read it sideways,” the Daily Mail quoted him, as writing at that time.

His aim was simple: to allow those who posted on the university’s bulletin board to distinguish between those attempting to write funny emails and those who weren’t, as he had seen how simple jokes were often misunderstood.

Fahlman, a computer science researcher who still works at the university, said he was surprised that his smiley face took the world by storm.

Once, he sent the email featuring the emoticon’s predecessor, and it wasn’t long before it spread to other universities and research labs via the primitive computer networks of the day.

Today, dozens of variations of the emoticons are available, mainly as little yellow, computer graphics. Some emoticons wear sunglasses, other’s cry, while some don Santa hats.


First Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012 - 18:04

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