The 'New York Times' Finally Discovered Emojis, In Case You Needed More Proof of How Mainstream They’ve Become

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There are a lot of things I like reading the New York Times for. The “By the Book” feature in the Books section is one; everything in the Food section is another; and for some reason, I really like the etiquette column “Social Q’s” (clearly I was Emily Post in a past life). I don’t, however, usually go to them for information about online phenomena, as they’re usually a little behind the curve in that particular area. Case in point: Apparently the New York Times just discovered emojis, which means that, in Internet time, they’re running about eight million years behind everyone else.

To be fair, I kind of agree with the Times, re: The emoji explosion is getting out of control. I’m not, however, totally sure why they decided that now would be the absolute best time to describe the history of these little pictographs. Given that everyone else has been well aware of both them and their past for a pretty substantial amount of time, it seems like they’re a little late to the party, no? I mean, as Emoji Among Us: A Documentary demonstrated, emojis have long since integrated themselves into our society. Giving us a history lesson on a topic we’re already familiar with seems a little like putting Michael Phelps back in an introductory level swimming class.

At least they also put together a little quiz measuring how fluent you are in emoji. Consisting of 10 questions, it presents you with a string of emojis, then asks you to choose the multiple choice answer that best translates the phrase into actual words. They might be relatively simple to puzzle out, like this one:

For the curious, I chose “I’m watching the World Cup. Call me later.”

Or they might be a little weirder, like this one:

I went with “I’m babysitting a little devil who is spinning out of control because he ate too much candy.” Also, whoever sent that sequence of emojis is clearly a terrible babysitter.

I scored a fairly respectable seven out of 10, which apparently makes me “Pretty Good at Emojis”: My results told me, “You have just enough fluency to add emojis to your phrases, but not enough to go full emoji. Good effort!” I may not be an “Emoji Whisperer,” but neither am I an “Emoji Fail.” Thanks for reaffirming my cultural fluency, New York Times — although I wonder whether the examples set forth in the quiz’s questions demonstrate proper usage of emoji grammar. What would Tyler Schnoebelen say?

But hey, at least the Times also pointed out a use for one of the more puzzling new emojis that I hadn’t thought of before: The “Man in Business Suit Levitating” emoji, which I consider by far one of the weirdest iMessage images out there, can represent the action of jumping. It’s rare that one actually sees a man in a business suit jumping for joy, but hey, it could happen. Right?

Images: chinnian/Flickr; New York Times