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On September 19, 1982, Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman first proposed the use of three consecutive characters: colon, hyphen, and closing parenthesis to denote a "smiling face" in a text that is typed on a computer. This turned the electronic lexicon upside down.
Here is his letter:
19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E Fahlman :-)
From: Scott E Fahlman
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
The historic message was preceded by a long discussion in which the participants discussed the question of what symbols should be used in order to indicate that the message is humorous and playful.
In almost 40 years of its existence, the "smiley face" has become an invariable attribute of electronic communication, and many people can no longer imagine their life without it. Some of them generally communicate only with smiley faces and emojis. And of course, a lot of "emoticons" have appeared since then, bearing different semantic and emotional meanings.