When I first started using the Internet back in 1996, one of the first Net lingos I learned was the use of emoticons. Back then they were known as smileys; the term ‘emoticon’ (as far as I am concerned) became widespread with the pimping by MSN Messenger as they update their instant messaging applications to garner younger users.

Today a regular Monsterblog commenter, Father of The World posted a link to the following article published on CNN, and I just have acknowledge it ;)

🙂 turns 25

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (AP) — 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.

Variations, such as the “wink” that uses a semicolon, emerged later. And today people can hardly imagine using computer chat programs that don’t translate keystrokes into colorful graphics, said Ryan Stansifer, a computer science professor at the Florida Institute of Technology.

Even my ma uses emoticons! So happy birthday to you, O smiley :)