While most people believe that Scott Fahlman was the first person to suggest the use of :-) symbol for representing a smiley face, Times has stumbled upon an old speech of Abraham Lincoln that contains an emoticon.
Gmail now supports emoticons (or Smileys) provided you compose email messages in rich HTML mode. The smiley feature is available only in Gmail accounts but Google Apps users may try a hack to insert smileys in their messages.
Emoticons, which are usually drawn sideways, need you to turn your head to read them. If for some reason you prefer them right side up, here is a list of emoticons you don’t have to turn your head for.