We often consider net speak and associated abbreviations found in text messaging and the like to be relatively recent phenomena. But it is worth remembering that computers have been used to communicate since long before Al Gore invented the internet in 1995. Or was it Dan Quayle in 1943? I forget. Anyway, emoticons are pretty popular now, all thanks to the original smilie, which is now twenty five years old.

It was first suggested on September 19th, 1982, by one Scott E Fahlman. At least, that’s the currently accepted first usage and has yet to be successfully challenged. You can read all about it by clicking the smilie at the end of this post.

My personal favourite emoticon is the Heavy Metal Fan, raising devil horns with both hands. And it doesn’t even need to be read sideways to make sense. Here he is: \m/><\m/ But these things do tend to have a way of taking on a life of their own. Read about Fahlman's first smilie here: 🙂