Historic New York Times Emoticon Headline Makes it into Print

When the New York Times published the headline “Study of Twitter Messages Tracks When We Are :)” online, Yahoo reported that it marked first time an emoticon had been used to convey information in a headline–replacing a word in a sentence rather than punctuating it.

A senior software architect at the Times said the emoticon would stay in its native medium, as an Internet-only headline. “Just to be clear, the 🙂 is not in the print headline or the e-headline sent to electronic devices; just some homepage fun,” he tweeted.

But it looks like the buzziness paid off–the emoticon made it through print production after all. Behold the landmark on page A16.

Covering the same story, The Washington Post couldn’t resist adopting Twitter conventions, either. It used the headline “Twitter study: We ❤ wknds & a.m.,” Poynter noted.

According to Thought Catalog, readers and writers should embrace the convenience and ambiguity of collapsing words into emoticons. “Maybe our generation should be called Generation 🙂 instead of Generation Y or whatever they’re calling us. Now, conveniently, you don’t have to put your complicated thoughts and sentiments into words. You can just use a smiley,” they wrote.