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History of the Emoji

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Published on May 27, 2018

Emoji date back to 1999 when they first appeared on Japanese cell phones. But it’s history goes further than that, because before there were emoji, there were emoticons. Emoticons were the pictorial representation of a facial expression by using things like punctuation marks, numbers, and letters. The earliest use of emoticons can be traced all the way back to the 17th century when a Slovak notary used one to indicate his satisfaction with the state of his town's financial records. In 1862, The New York Times also allegedly used an emoticon in this snippet of a speech transcript. And some of the first emoticons representing various moods were publish in an 1881 issue of Puck magazine.

So it’s clear that using symbols to represent facial expressions isn’t a modern concept, but it did become more popular with the advent of the computer. The first American Standard Code for Information Interchange emoticons, or ASCII for short which is essentially just an encoding standard, were written by Scott Fahlman in 1982, he thought they’d help people on a message board at Carnegie Mellon to distinguish serious posts from jokes by using the smiley face and frown face. And the symbols caught on...

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