how to Smile :-)
On September 19, 1982, AI researcher Scott Fahlman typed :-) in
an online message.
The "smiley face" has since become a staple of online
communication, allowing email users to punctuate their messages
with a quick symbol that says, "hey, I'm only joking."
In the early 1980s, computer networks were rarely found outside
university science departments and secretive government facilities.
Already then, discussions on online "bulletin boards"
could quickly give rise to misunderstandings, especially when containing
jokes. After one such episode, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University
(CMU) bulletin board proposed a variety of symbols for marking humorous
comments, including +, %, &, (#) and --/.
Fahlman, then a neural networks researcher at CMU, suggested :-),
along with the admonition to "read it sideways." Before
long, other bulletin board users were placing the smiley face in
their messages, and finally a number of other "emoticons"
were invented ...