Want to make sure someone knows what you're saying is a joke on an email? Put a little ;-). Want to convey sadness, add a little :-( or if you're ecstatically happy, you just need a big old :-D.
Yes, these funny little symbols have become the de facto way millions of us communicate our thoughts to people around the world, as we increasingly lose the will to try and articulate complex emotions with the limited vocabulary we possess. Well, that's Sneak take on it anyway.
Regardless, these faces have risen in popularity, and today they celebrate thirty years of use, all thanks to one man who invented their use, Professor Scott Fahlman, of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, as The Independent notes.
"Their birth can be traced to the precise minute: 11:44am on 19 September 1982," it reports.
"At that moment Fahlman sent an email on an online electronic bulletin board that included the first use of the sideways smiley face: "I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-) Read it sideways."
However, despite having the chance to take credit for this amazing invention, Falhma now hates the now ubiquitous cartoon versions.
"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. But perhaps that's just because I invented the other kind."
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