Thursday, September 20, 2012
Happy 30th Birthday Emoticons!
So, I thought that I would share this article from Mental Floss....
At 11:44 am on September 19, 1982, Scott Fahlman changed how we communicate forever. The computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University logged on to the college's computer science general board and wrote:
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 :-(
In just a few months, Fahlman's symbols had spread to other message boards and networks. Users suggested their own variations-omitting the hyphen "nose" eventually became typical-and today, many of us can't send a text without including a sideways wink (or, you know, a message composed entirely of emoji cats, frogs and peace signs).
Though Fahlman's emoticons are the best known, they aren't the first. In an analysis of historic documents that began in 2004, Bryan Benilous at Proquest discovered what he thought was an emoticon in an 1862 New York Times transcript of an Abraham Lincoln speech:
"... there is no precedent for your being here yourselves, (applause and laughter ;) and I offer, in justification of myself and you, that I have found nothing in the Constitution against."
While some experts agree with Benilous, others insist it was the typesetter's mistake. And in 1881, emoticons for joy, melancholy and indifference were published in the magazine Puck, but they were read up and down, not sideways. But since Fahlman's were the first to be widely used, they win the day. Happy birthday, emoticons! :-)