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One of the most widely used emoticon is the cute smiley face which consists of the ubiquitous ‘colon-hyphen-parenthesis’. I believe everyone love to use this especially in emails and blog posts.

Smiley

Do you know how its use started?

Twenty-five years ago, a Carnegie Mellon University professor by the name Scott E. Fahlman sent a message proposing the use of a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis as a joke marker. It was the earliest recorded use of the smiley face, which has since become ubiquitous with online communication. It has become a serious contribution to the electronic lexicon.

Fahlman posted the emoticon in a message to an online electronic bulletin board at 11:44 a.m. on Sept. 19, 1982, during a discussion about the limits of online humor and how to denote comments meant to be taken lightly.

“I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-),” wrote Fahlman. “Read it sideways.”

The suggestion gave computer users a way to convey humor or positive feelings with a smile — or the opposite sentiments by reversing the parenthesis to form a frown.

Carnegie Mellon said Fahlman’s smileys spread from its campus to other universities, then businesses and eventually around the world as the Internet gained popularity.

Three simple keystrokes, but it brings big impact to the screen. Isn’t it? 🙂

Full story on MSNBC.