Happy Birthday!!!

Ken AshfordScience & Technology1 Comment

Whose birthday is it?

This guy’s….


He turns 25 years old tomorrow:

It was a serious contribution to the electronic lexicon. 🙂 Twenty-five years ago, Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman says, he was the first to use three keystrokes — a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis — as a horizontal "smiley face" in a computer message.

To mark the anniversary Wednesday, Fahlman and his colleagues are starting an annual student contest for innovation in technology-assisted, person-to-person communication. The Smiley Award, sponsored by Yahoo Inc., carries a $500 cash prize.

Language experts say the smiley face and other emotional icons, known as emoticons, have given people a concise way in e-mail and other electronic messages of expressing sentiments that otherwise would be difficult to detect.

Fahlman posted the emoticon in a message to an online electronic bulletin board at 11:44 a.m. on Sept. 19, 1982, during a discussion about the limits of online humor and how to denote comments meant to be taken lightly.

UPDATE:  The original bulletin board* thread in which the "smiley" is proposed is here.

* For the kids: Back in the old days of computing, people conversed online on what was then called "bulletin boards"