In a bid to pre-empt Facebook’s upcoming ‘Reactions’, USA Today has started inserting emojis into its newspaper- but readers are giving it the thumbs down.
Earlier this week, Facebook announced it is testing “Reactions,” a set of six emoji-based buttons that will allow users the ability to respond to content in a more emotionally sensitive way.
On Friday, USA Today, clearly feeling the buzz around the impending debut, decided to give the emoji a test run on its own front page.
See the results below:
The paper uses the emoji to provide emotional cues, like a sad face next to a story about a stabbing, an angry face next to an article about Russia’s misdirected missiles, and a big wow face next to an item about Kevin McCarthy’s decision to drop out of the race for House speaker.
Emojis, an evolution from text-based emoticons, are a common feature of online messaging on smartphones and computers.
Speaking to the Guardian, USA Today editor-in-chief David Callaway said the experiment was an attempt to stir debate as Facebook’s introduction of emojis could lead to a billion people regularly using them.
He said: “I doubt they will become a core part of print articles, but we wanted to see what it would look like … I think we’ll see more experimenting with digital practices in print, even if they don’t become mainstream.”
The stunt received a mixed reaction on Twitter, with some pointing out that it contrasted with the serious nature of the stories.
— Rhodri Marsden (@rhodri) October 12, 2015
— Felicity Morse (@FelicityMorse) October 9, 2015