Emoticons turn 25

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the electronic ‘smiley face’ : – ).  September 19, 1982 at 11:44 am Carnegie Mellon University Professor Scott Fahlman put three characters together to make the now famous :-).   During a discussion Mr. Fahlman was having on a bulletin board (do you remember bulletin boards?) he was commenting about the limits of online humor and how to denote comments meant to be taken lightly.  He then went on to say “I propose the following character sequence for joke makers, : – )’, wrote Mr. Fahlman.  Click here to read the Unversity’s official press release about this monumental event. 

Computer science and linguistics professors contacted by The Associated Press said they were unaware of who first used the symbol.

“I’ve never seen any hard evidence that the : – ) sequence was in use before my original post, and I’ve never run into anyone who actually claims to have invented it before I did,” Fahlman wrote on the university’s Web page dedicated to the smiley face.

“But it’s always possible that someone else had the same idea _ it’s a simple and obvious idea, after all.”

Computer science and linguistics professors contacted by The Associated Press said they were unaware of who first used the symbol.

“I’ve never seen any hard evidence that the : – ) sequence was in use before my original post, and I’ve never run into anyone who actually claims to have invented it before I did,” Fahlman wrote on the university’s Web page dedicated to the smiley face.

“But it’s always possible that someone else had the same idea _ it’s a simple and obvious idea, after all.”

Digital ‘smiley face’ turns 25: Web’s ubiquitous ‘colon-hyphen-parenthesis’ celebrates a milestone.

This is where the emotional icons (a.k.a. emoticons) originated.  In case you are not aware the Internet began as bulletin boards from Universities to Universities and then for those that had computers with modems.  I remember dialing into David Harter a friend/mentor’s bulletin board in the late 80’s early 90’s from Misawa Japan when I was in the Navy.  I struggle with the name of the BBS but I am sure he will make a comment and if he would remind me and the readers the name of the BBS that would be great.

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear 🙂
Happy Birthday to you,
and many more……. 

Thank you Professor Scott Fahlman.

JB

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4 Responses to Emoticons turn 25

  1. Ah, the BBS! That was a technologically kinder, gentler time! Originally, it was the After Hours BBS. At that time, it operated only in the evening (after hours). Later, it became a full-time, multi-line Wildcat! BBS with Web-like GUI and was named California Technologies BBS.

    Ah, memories!

    – David

  2. admin says:

    Ah yes, now I remember Wildcat and it was after hours cause it was during the day for me in Japan. I use to spend hours on it when I was not on duty. With my HP 286 if I recall correctly. I even had a standalone modem not the old coupler kind.

    Those were the days and truly amazing how advanced we are in the cyber world. Thanks David for remind me the name of your BBS.

    Have a wonderful day, I see the sun so your probably feeling a little better today 🙂

    JB

  3. Jeff,

    The sunshine has, indeed, enlivened me. Weather permitting, I envision baby back ribs on the grill tomorrow!

    – David

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