Scott Elliot Fahlman, 1982

How can people distinguish serious posts from jokes? Computer scientist Scott Fahlman thought of this problem and is credited for using the first emoticon online in 1982. The word ‘emoticon’ is a portmanteau word of ‘emotion’ and ‘icon’. A portmanteau, in case you didn’t know, is a combination of two words into a new word ;-). Though Fahlman may have been the first to use it online, he was not the first ever emoticon user. A similar marker appeared in Reader’s Digest in 1967. Also, Abraham Lincoln used an emoticon in his speech in 1862. People are still debating whether this was just a typographical error.