Later On

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The smiley was invented 25 years ago by Scott E. Fahlman.

Twenty-five years ago, a clever university professor added a colon to a right parenthesis and thus changed the course of human events. Ok, maybe we’re overstating the social and cultural impact of the emoticon but, you’ll have to admit, love them or not, they’re everywhere.

Scott E. Fahlman dreamed up the sideways smiley in a discussion about how to denote comments meant to be taken lightly. The message posted on September 19th 1982 on a bulletin board system at 11:44am, Fahlman floated the idea to some compatriots. Responding with statements like “OMG” and “ROTFL!”, his online audience liked the idea, and the little sideways smiley that could spread quickly through an Internet the size of some current LANs. The smiley has seen many variations over the years, denoting a range of emotions from happy to sad, snarky to shaudenfrude.

To mark the smiley’s 25th birthday, Fahlman and friends have started an annual student contest promoting innovation in technology based person-to-person communication. The Smiley Award, as it’s appropriately called, is sponsored by Yahoo and carries a $500 cash prize.

The instigator of “LOL” was unavailable for comment.

My favorite: Ronald Reagan:  7:^)

Here’s a list of 100 emoticons for your perusal and memorization. Test tomorrow.

Written by Leisureguy

19 September 2007 at 8:37 am

Posted in Daily life

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