Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Emoticon!

Okay, I'm a few days early, but, heck, since I haven't posted in a few months, it's nice to be early instead of late. While flying on a Southwest flight recently, I read an article about the birth of the emoticon. What would we do without the emoticon these days? How could we wink online or frown? Ever wonder who thought of the idea to use punctuation marks to express emotions? (Yes, as you might imagine, I have.) Turns out that the father of the emoticon is Scott E. Fahlman, and the emoticon's birthday is September 19, 1982. Dr. Fahlman was part of a Computer Science community at Carnegie Melon back in the early 80s, and they had an online bulletin board to discuss everything from campus parking to politics. He says that sometimes people would post a sarcastic comment and others would fail to see the humor. That lead to some irate posts. So, he suggested that :-) could be used as a humor maker, and :-( could be used to mark anger, frustration, or disappointment. The idea caught on and spread to other universities, and then folks took the idea up a notch and created emoticons for surprise, Santa Claus, and many others. Now, we even have moving emoticons. Happy Birthday, Emoticon! :-)