Today is the 25th birthday of the emoticon, the day when Prof Scott Fahlman first used the symbol 🙂 to denote a smiley face and indicate that the text it followed was meant to be taken lightly.
The symbol was first used on an electronic bulletin board whose members were discussing ways to denote humour online.
"I propose the following character sequence for joke markets: :-). Read it sideways," Fahlman wrote – and thus were emoticons born.
As Internet connectivity spread far and wide, so did the smiley faces – as well as variations on the theme such as using a semi-colon to make the face wink, or using an open bracket to give it an unhappy face.
Today, users can download dozens of little faces to use in their text, but the original 🙂 still retains its popularity.