The sideways “smiley face”, turns 30 today!. Scott E. Fahlman was the pioneer of the idea during a bulletin board post on September 19, 1982. It was thought of as a way to imply a thread that was intended as a joke. His use the character sequence is the first recorded use!
Techspot.com reports; "Unfortunately by the time that Fahlman realized the trend was catching on in a big way, he wasn’t able to retrieve the original board post and believed it was lost forever. But in 2001, Microsoft employee Mike Jones sponsored an “archeological dig” through old backup tapes in an effort to locate the original thread. After six months of digging, Jones and his team located the correct backup tapes, found the necessary hardware to read the media, decoded the format and ultimately located the original thread dated September 19, 1982."
Here is the original message posted by Scott Fahlman on 19 September, 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