:-) turns 25
Twenty-five years ago, Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman says, he was the first to use three keystrokes -- a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis -- as a horizontal "smiley face" in a computer message.
Fahlman posted the emoticon in a message to an online electronic bulletin board at 11:44 a.m. on September 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.