From the Chronicle News Blog...
...it will be 25 years ago tomorrow that Mr. Fahlman, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, invented the digital smiley face.
After a colleague joked about a contaminated elevator on an electronic bulletin board, Mr. Fahlman had his eureka moment: He recommended that future quipsters mark their jokes with ":-)" to make sure no one misconstrued their comments.
What great blessings the emoticon has brought to our society! Although I do think the Abraham Lincoln emoticon is just a little too much:
-- "==):-)=" --
Happy birthday, little emoticon! Many happy returns! :-)