The Guy Who Created Emoticons Says He Hates What They’ve Become
This month is the 30th anniversary of the EMOTICON, the smiley faces, frowning faces, winking faces, and other things you make out of punctuation when you type. And they’re EVERYWHERE.
Scott Fahlman is the computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who gets credit for creating the first one.
On September 19th, 1982, Fahlman was typing an email to an online bulletin board. Yes, there were people emailing in 1982. And he wanted to come up with a way for people to show that their tone was supposed to be funny, not serious.
So he made a sideways smiling face out of a colon, a hyphen, and a right parenthesis . . . the first-ever emoticon. People LOVED them, started using them, and they just kept spreading.
And now, 30 years later, he says he HATES THEM. Mainly he’s disappointed with how they’ve evolved into those yellow computer graphic faces.
Quote, “I think they are ugly, and they ruin the challenge of trying to come up with a clever way to express emotions using standard keyboard characters.”