Solved: The Great ‘J’ Mystery
For the longest time, I’d assumed that ‘J’ was, for some reason, a replacement for the smiley emoticon that was for some reason quite common in the working world. Today someone asked me why our colleagues kept inserting ‘J’ into their emails – I offered him this theory, though he was somewhat dissatisfied with the explanation. I then proceeded to Google for an answer, and lo and behold! The ‘J’ is actually what Outlook inserts into the email instead of the standard smiley, since that’s what the letter J maps to in the Wingdings font. When the email is opened in a client other than Outlook, then, the smiley is converted into ‘J’.
In other words, ‘J’ started because Microsoft’s email program (which many companies seem to use) behaves idiotically, but apparently some people now manually type ‘J’ deliberately, which makes deducing this a whole lot less easy!