30 Years of Emoting

September 20, 2012


30 years ago, Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist Professor Scott Fahlman created one of the most recognizable symbols in modern culture: the smiling emoticon :)

Without knowing the implications of his actions, Fahlman posted the emoticon to a University bulletin board and subsequently made history. Throughout the years, the emoticon has been adapted to meet millions of different uses with nearly as many individual views. Some might recognize the yellow orbi-ish blobs with sunglasses and winking faces, but this isn't what Professor Fahlman originally intended.

"I think they are ugly, and they ruin the challenge of trying to come up with a clever way to express emotions using standard keyboard characters," Fahlman admitted to the Independent UK in a recent interview. 

Whether or not Fahlman meant to introduce an easy way of showing a joke or a form of snarky passive aggressiveness, he created a new world of denoting emotion and emphasis through tiny little keyboard characters. The Internet exploded with each persons variations on the original from the moment the first smiley face made it to the World Wide Web. Creativity knew no bounds. 

30 years of emoting through keyboards has lit the path through nerdy creativity and allowed speech through text to be always interesting. Here's to another 30 years :)


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