Luck would have it that the transcript of the communication in which the smilie was “invented” was preserved for posterity. “Joke” Conversation Thread in which the :) Was Invented in October of 1982.
18-Sep-82 20:40 Guy Steele at CMU-10A ! Joke markers again
I hope everyone realized that my previous remark about non-use
of joke markers was a joke, and was flagged as such by the
absence of a marker. This message is not a joke, as indicated
by the exclamation point.
19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E Fahlman :)
From: Scott E Fahlman
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