Emoticons in the Workplace
The first newsgroup mention of the word 'emoticons', in the Jargon File draft by ESR posted on June 12, 1990, indicates that many smilies were already in common use at that time.
EMOTICON (ee-moh'ti-cahn) n. An ASCII glyph used to indicate an
emotional state in email or news. Hundreds have been proposed, but
only a few are in common use. These include:
:-) Smiley face (indicates laughter)
:-( Frowney face (indicates sadness, anger or upset)
;-) Half-smiley (ha ha only serious), aka winkey face.
:-/ Wry face
Of these, the first two are by far the most frequently encountered.
Hyphenless forms of them are common on CompuServe, GEnie and BIX; see