This article was originally published at HubPages, my account there.
Do you remember the day you first saw someone type :) or (the longer version with a nose) :-) ? I do. It wasn't 30 years ago, more like 16 years and a couple of months ago. I started online in the summer of 1996. I was an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) diva. Talking online, using a sort of bulletin board which was live over the Internet. Not a lot of people still use the IRC these days. It was lots of fun at the time. I really began seeing emoticons when I became an active member of the ASCII art newsgroups. We didn't stop at simple smileys and emoticons though. ASCII art is pictures created with standard keyboard characters. I've been making ASCII art since 1998. See my ASCII art gallery,

The Emoticon Turns 30 on September 19th, 2012.

If you have never created an emoticon - do it! Some people think emoticons are dorky, too retro, too silly. No doubt there are lists of reasons you can find (or create) for not using an emoticon in your email or online comments, etc. But, emoticons are still the best way we have to include emotional direction into our typed out text. Online, no one can see you smile Someone reading your email can't really tell if you are cracking a joke, being serious, being sarcastic or just being a jerk. Emoticons give the essential information as to the tone and meaning behind your commentary. Emoticons are important tools for people who like to be snarky but don't really want to offend or upset others. Emoticons are great for the other side too - when you want someone to know you're serious and feeling pretty ticked off too. Your words and language may be polite but one angry emoticon can let them know you're just being polite.