Today I cracked open my Facebook feed and was officially welcomed to the emojification of Facebook, with their new reaction system that gives you more options than mere “likes.” For everyone who ever begged for a dislike button, the current solution takes a page from Slack and Buzzfeed, with little faces that depict laugher (haha), surprise (wow), sadness and anger, along with the traditional thumbs-up like button, plus a brand new red heart.
Using it is pretty intuitive. Here’s how, using an example from a friend’s page. (No idea why I picked this one; it just spoke to me.)
1. Just mouse over the word “like” as you always do, and a little menu will pop up with your choice of icon. Note: don’t mouse over the tiny icons or you will be super confused.
2. Click the Facebook reaction you want to use, and you will see it appear next to the thumbs-up icon and alongside the names of friends engaged with the post. You can always change it.
3. Afterwards, you can mouse over the tiny icon to bring up a pop-up menu that shows you exactly who is feeling which way about any given post.
4. Start unfriending people who disagree with you. (Just kidding.)
On one hand, I think it’s a smart move for topics like deaths in the family or infuriating news stories, when a “like” just doesn’t seem to do the trick. On the other hand, human reactions aren’t always so easily summed up with a single image.
Let’s say someone says “this presidential candidate is the worst!” Are you liking that statement with your heart reaction? Are you disagreeing by posting a heart because you like the candidate? If you post an angry face, are you angry at the poster’s info or angry at the article she linked to?
Hey, even on Instagram, people use combos of emoji to put together a reaction — or a complete thought.
I must admit, I can’t wait to see how many fun misunderstandings crop up with this system. (I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to f***’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny??) Whether a heart is somehow valued more than a like. Whether laughter is valued more than heart or a like on a funny post. Whether people go back and forth between likes and hearts, based on what the rest of the crowd is doing. I mean, who wants to be a like-r when everyone else is a heart-er?
Oh, the agony of it all!
Yes, I’m an overthinker. And I don’t like change all that much. And get off my lawn, you kids.
Fortunately, one thing remains the same at least for now: the ability to leave a comment. With words. As both a writer and someone who believes that social media needs to include some degree of socializing to be social, I’m hoping that never goes away.
And I also hope that maybe we’ll all get the ability to turn off the other emoji options on our own feeds. The simple “like” button seemed to have been serving 1.59 billion monthly active users just fine but hey, we’ll see where it goes.
Still, give it a shot. I’d suggest you get started by sharing this article on your feed, then having a big time-sucking debate with your friends about whether you like the changes or not.