Emoticons have been around longer than you think:
While reforming the language I crave leave to introduce an improvement in punctuation–the snigger point, or note of cachinnation. It is written thus\_/ and represents, as nearly as may be, a smiling mouth. It is to be appended, with the full stop, to every jocular or ironical sentence; or, without the stop, to every jocular or ironical clause of a sentence otherwise serious–thus: “Mr. Edward Bok is the noblest work of God \_/.” “Our respected and esteemed \_/ contemporary, Mr. Slyvester Vierick, whom for his virtues we revere and for his success envy \_/, is going to the devil as fast as his two heels can carry him.” “Deacon Harvey, a truly good man \_/, is self-made in the largest sense of the term; for although he was born great, wise and rich, the deflection of his nose is the work of his own coat-sleeve.”
Bierce, Ambrose. “For Brevity and Clarity.” The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce. New York: Neale, 1912. Kindle.