The Invention of The Emoticon

The Webby Awards

With the invention of the Web came an influx of written correspondence. And, as anyone who has tried to convey sarcasm online can attest, tone can easily get lost between the lines of an email.

That’s why in 1982 computer scientist Scott Fahlman invented the emoticon. His invention actually predates the Web: The above suggestion was posted on a message board on Carnegie Mellon’s network, but the sentiment endures.

From simple emoticons to lines of colorful emoji to reaction GIFs, “joke markers” are still a very important part of how we communicate online.