The emoticon, a standard of online communications and increasingly used offline is 30 years old today. What started out as a way of expressing feelings using simple ASCII characters, which is all that you got 30 years ago, became much more than that.
Professor Scott Fahlman of Carnegie Mellon University came up with the idea. "I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-) ," he said in the first ever (recorded) use of the emoticons. "Read it sideways," he added to help people get it.
The standard set was soon created, happy, sad, crying, angry, all of the common emotions had their visual representation.
These days, pure ASCII emoticons are becoming rarer, they're usually replaced by graphic emoticons, or emoji. The creator of the emoticons still believes the original ones are the best, if only because they're cleverer. He would though, he invented them.