If you have any bit of nerd inside your soul, then you know that the first computer scientist Scott Fahlman sent out an e-mail with a colon and hyphen as a way to show that he was happy 🙂 he had achieved the impossible. Send out a virtual email to another computer.
Mashable just did an awesome little history of the Emoticon from start to finish! you need to check out what they did.
Oh by the way, this marks the anniversary of something that we all take for granted yet we use it at the end of every text message or to symbolize when were are happy or sad. Over the years people have added different version of the icon. Everything from =] to the >.< so take the time to check out what Mashable compiled in their awesome gallery!