This is Not the Smiley of Your Parents

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It's interesting to note that Microsoft and AOL now intercept these character strings and turn them into little pictures. Personally, I think this destroys the whimsical element of the original.

Smiley: 25 Years Old and Never Looked Happier!

When Fahlman, the author of the article and creator of the "smiley", suggested the use of symbols to look like a smiley face, he never thought that his idea would catch on. Not only did it catch on, it spread very quickly.

As Fahlman states, the smiley has morphed and changed over the years. No longer is :-) the only option. When typing in certain other programs, your characters get changed into a small smiley picture. I agree with Fahlman in the fact that this change can take away from the original. Your message is no longer straight type, but there is a picture thrown in along the way.

As for myself, I adore the smiley. The smiley is something I've been familiar with since my beginning use of the computer. I can't imagine being able to convey what I'm actually thinking without the aid of those two little symbols. I don't use the more complicated versions, but rather I stick to a simple smiley and frownie. My favorite happen to be =] and =[.

So here's to you Smiley. Here's to the joy you give computer users. Here's to the many confusing situations that you have helped to avoid. Here's to your 26 years of health and growth. And here's to many more...


Jed Fetterman said:

I think that when you look at the story of the emoticon, you are seeing one of the first instances of technology literally taking off like wildfire. With YouTube and texting and e-mail, it is easy to forget how fast technology and media spreads to the general public. One hundred years earlier, it might have taken centuries for the emoticon to catch on. Now, the smiley was old news fifteen or twenty years ago. Everything speeds up when technology is involved.

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