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 markthings that are NOT jokes - given current trends. For this, use
:-(

The first documented used of the original ASCII emoticons 🙂 and :-(, with a specific suggestion that they be used to express emotion, was Scott Fahlman; the text of his original proposal, posted to the Carnegie Mellon University computer science general board on 19 September 1982 (11:44), was thought to have been lost, but was recovered twenty years later by Jeff Baird from old backup tapes. <wikipedia>