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Scott Fahlman
Scott Fahlman


September 19, 1982 an American professor at Carnegie Mellon University was the first person to use three keystrokes – a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis – which made a horizontal smiley face.  In a computer message, Scott Fahlman posted, what is now referred to as the first emoticon, on an online bulletin board.  He intended it to be a joke marker.  He was later quoted as saying, “It’s just a little way of putting a bit of humanity in a message.”


Though credited with originating the smiley emoticon, he was not the first emoticon user.  A similar emoticon appeared in an article in Reader’s Digest in 1967.  Vladimir Nabokov noted, “I often think there should exist a special typographical sign for a smile – some sort of concave mark, a round bracket.”


Of course, since that time a bunch of different emoticons have popped up.  It’s even to the point where your computer will automatically insert a smiley face for you  :-)  (which you’ll notice my computer just did).  There’s a whole list of emoticons on Wikipedia.


So, your assignment for today is to try and incorporate as many emoticons into your emails as possible.  For those of you on the receiving end – no need to thank me.  :-)

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