Texting is a relatively recent phenomena in the history of written communication, but some elements closely associated to texting conversations may be older than most people know. The Emoticon and Emojis have been part of an evolving system to communicate more subtle tone via text than just standard letters. From as far back as 1969 writers have asked for a special character to represent a simile when writing to better communicate sarcasm or sly jokes, and a blog post on Lumia Conversations traces the history of these special characters.
One of the earliest documented usages of the 🙂 in computer conversations can be traced back to 1982 at the Computer Science community at Carnegie Mellon University when Scott E. Fahlman proposed using the symbols to communicate when a statement is a joke and not intended to be taken seriously. Now 🙂 has been almost universally adopted by anyone texting, chatting, emailing, or any other form of typed communication.
The evolution of how emotions are communicated through text currently stands in the Emoji. These stylized icons help communicate more than just happy or sad and can be a staple in many modern text conversations. The Emoji was developed in the 90s but wasn’t standardized into Unicode until 2010. Standardizing Emojis enabled users of different platforms to use the symbols when communicating cross platform. While there may be some visual differences between platforms, generally users can expect consistency. There seems to be no end in sight for the Emoji even Windows 10 has gained revamped Emojis for more symbols and diversity.