Nabokov – the one who gave birth to the smiley

Today, September 19, is celebrated worldwide as the Birthday of the Smiley, but few people know that the first to propose using this sign was the writer Vladimir Nabokov.

Today, September 19, is celebrated worldwide as the Birthday of the Smiley, but few people know that the first to propose using this sign was the writer Vladimir Nabokov.

Back in 1969, Vladimir Nabokov, a well-known Russian-American writer, in an interview, mentioned how important it was to create special punctuation marks for the graphical display of emotions:

“I often think that it is necessary to come up with a typographic symbol denoting a smile – some flourish or leaning closing bracket, which I could use to accompany my answers to your questions.”

 

 

However, the first combination of symbols, which today denote a variety of emotions in text messages, was used for the very first time in a message on the bulletin board of the Carnegie Mellon University, which was serving as a local forum at the time, on September 19, 1982.

This historical fact was made public by enthusiasts from the Microsoft Systems and Networking Research Group, who spent six months conducting “computer archaeological excavations” in order to discover that momentous message.

The author of the first smiley face (with a colon, a hyphen and closing bracket) was Carnegie Mellon professor Scott Fahlman, who, with his great sense of humor, decided to “liven up” the “faceless” electronic lexicon of his colleagues. Nevertheless, the originator of the idea was Vladimir Nabokov.

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