Home / The origin of smiley faces/emoticons - Smiley Lore :-)  
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tl/dr: The original smiley was proposed by Scott Fahlman at at Carnegie Mellon on Sept 19, 1982:

19-Sep-82 11:44    Scott E  Fahlman             :-)

From: Scott E  Fahlman <Fahlman at Cmu-20c>

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:


Read it sideways.  Actually, it is probably more economical to mark

things that are NOT jokes, given current trends.  For this, use


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