Happy Birthday to the Smiley! If you’ve ever instant messaged or emailed, chances are you have used an emoticon (like “ 🙂 ”). The suggestion was first made by Scott Fahlman in 1982, who is now a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Fahlman suggested the tags because dry sarcasm was not translating on electronic bulletin board posts.
I’ve always tried to avoid them (as well as shortcuts like LOL, OMG, and WTF), but I realized how pervasive they were and are in the late 1990s when a friend wrote me a letter with a hand-written smiley (“:)”) at the end of a sentence. Seems to me she could have just drawn a smiley face, but I suppose we’re past that as a society.
Speaking of internet sensations which I refuse to embrace, September 19 is also International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Allow me to reiterate that it’s international – so you can feel free to call your friends in Canada and bellow “Arr, Matey!” – if, in fact, that’s how you’d talk to your Canadian friends.