• Technology
  • by Jakub Szczęsny
  • 19/09/2019

Today is Emoticon’s Day! It is worth to learn about their history

It’s certain: if we didn’t use emoticons, expressing emotions on the Internet would be very difficult. It was even more difficult in the 80s, when smileys were used for the first time. Thanks to that, every year, on September 19, we celebrate the Emoticon’s Day.

Emoticon's Day

The first smiley was used by Professor Scott Fahlman of Carnegie Mellon University in 1982, but the idea of typographical smiley made up of punctuation marks appeared for the first time on 30 March 1881 in the satirical magazine Puck:

Emoticon's Day

Scott Fahlman was not the forerunner of using punctuation marks to express emotions. However, it was from his e-mail that he proposed the use of punctuation marks: “:-)” and “:-(” The mass use of nowadays well-known emoticons has started. Over the years, these have evolved many times, eventually transforming into universal “emoji”.

Here is the first message containing an emoticon:
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
: -(

Over the years, emoticons have evolved many times, and Internet users have created new combinations of punctuation signs. Traditional smileys were also shortened: “:-)” is now “:)”, forms such as “xD” are also very often used. Nowadays, however, the most frequently used are emoticons, a universal set of icons used not only to express emotions but also to enrich the text message. Emoji in recent years has become a standard jointly developed by technological giants such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others.

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Emoji were created for exactly the same reason as emoticons, but their beginning was slightly different: they were used for the first time in Japanese mobile phones in the 1990s. Japanese smartphone users quickly liked them: they could express themselves much faster with images than if they were to use their own language.

However, the world has not forgotten who introduced pictograms expressing emotions to the general public. Thanks to the creativity of Professor Scott Fahlman, who used modern emoticons in his e-mail for the first time on September 19, 1982. On the basis of this story, the Internet community created the Emoticon holiday, which is celebrated primarily in companies and environments strongly associated with the Internet and new technologies.

Emoticon’s Day: let’s celebrate!

The world without emoticons and emotions would be much sadder. We wouldn’t be able to express emotions next to the messages we wrote in instant messengers. Although we rarely think about it, these pictograms play a very important role in the Internet. Actually, every message with a suitable smiley looks a bit more attractive: Concise Software wishes all the best to all smileys! 🙂 :*

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Jakub Szczęsny

PR / Marketing Specialist at Concise Software. Author of one of the largest technology websites in Poland - Antyweb

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