The First Documented Emoticon Was Proposed After A Bad Joke

Carnegie Mellon faculty member Scott E. Fahlman perhaps accidentally created what would spawn a new form of communication: the emoticon. On Sept. 19, 1982 following a post on a digital message board about a fake mercury spill that was mistaken for a serious safety emergency, Fahlman proposed typing out :-) as a joke marker. "I propose that [sic] 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: :-(." These "smileys," as they came to be known, grew prevalent in internet communication. Eventually, services like AOL Instant Messenger automatically changed :-) to a yellow circle with a smiley face in the center. From there, emojis, which are made of iconography and not standard keyboard characters, took off. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

Written by Curiosity Staff July 13, 2016

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