Emoticons: how they came into being


Nowadays on social medias, we frequently(and sometimes too liberally) use emoticons to express our feelings. Emoticons now have become an essential part of modern conversation and they exist in various forms. However it all starts with a simple smiley face 34 years ago. On 19 September 1982, Professor Scott Fahlman, of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, sent an email to a computer bulletin board:


With the development of the Internet and online communication, this minimal, but expressive icon became popularly used, and many other emoticons were invented after this.

The late 90s saw the rise of a new branch of emoticons, now generally known as ’emoji’. Invented by Shigetaka Kurita in 1998 in Japan, the small digital images got popularized all over the world, when Apple made them compatible with its products, starting with iOS and then adding it to Mac OS X 10.7.


I find the history of emoticons interesting, as the use of such expressive icons is a crucial element of the Internet, or even the modern culture.The Oxford Dictionary named 😂 (Face With Tears of Joy) its 2015 Word of the year, which comes to show how significant emoticons are in our daily life. Nevertheless, the overwhelming use of emotion marks instead of actually express feelings with words have raised concerns in society, when we type emoticons to express ourselves, are we genuinely experiencing these feelings? If a conversation is filled with emojis, does it seem disingenuous? What do you think?



  1. I agree with Matt, I think it’s very clever that you focused on something that is so casually used in our everyday communication online. I don’t think using emojis these days is necessarily disingenuous, though I do agree that it could possibly affect our ability to express ourselves in person as well as we used to.


  2. There’s not a day that goes by where I either do not receive or send some form of emoticon and I think the increase of handheld devices has probably triggered this. Now we use them to express ourselves in a creative way, however I’m sure some may argue its just another way to show laziness. So instead of expressing how we feel with the use of words, we can simply summarise it in one emoji.


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