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Emoticons: posting a cute little turd just for the heck of it
The man who invented the emoticon claims the whole thing has gotten out of hand. In 1982, professor Scott Fahlman sent an electronic message to his colleagues at Carenegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh advising them on how best to clarify if they'd written something funny or not. "I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-)", the message ran. It continued, unnecessarily: "Read it sideways." In 2012, Fahlman is less chipper about his creation. He fears he has unleashed a monster.
I predict that, in the next 30 years, the use of emoticons will head in a direction that would have caused the 1982 version of Professor Fahlman to soil his drawers. I just don't know whether it would be in a good way or not. Such is the heady, fizzy state of the internet right now that sometimes I think we're on the verge of an entirely new mode of expression and communication. Other days I just think (