Facebook now has reactions. (“Yay” is not one of them.) And I have feelings about these new Like button alternatives. (“Yay” is not one of them.)
Oh, okay, that’s cool. More ways to react. If I just hover over the old Like button, I’ve got a range of options.
But if I don’t hover long enough, no reactions pop up. So most people will still just be like, Like.
It’s a little weird that four of the icons are faces and the other two are dismembered body parts, including one that a certain competitor just tried to make its own.
But come on, those are some cute lil’ faces. I like how the Angry dude has a sunburn.
I think if I had a strong feeling about a post—if I was gonna react at all—I’d probably use old-fashioned words. Or maybe I would just use emoji, especially if I’m on my computerphone. There are so many more options! But since these reactions are easier to do than those stupid Facebook stickers maybe people will use these and keep those weird anthropomorphic apples out of my feed.
Yeah like that thing. I hate that shit, I’m going to Angry it. Let me just roll over the Like button like so...
Oh wait, you can’t “react” to a comment? Only Like it? Haha.
What does Haha really mean? Am I laughing with you or at you or at something completely out of context? OR DID I JUST HIT THE WRONG REACTION ICON?
This is going to lead to some serious misunderstandings!
There’s also the (perhaps unintentional) comedic timing of retroactive engagement. If you go back and “react” to an old post when only Likes were available, you can be the only person with a true opinion in a sea of acquiescence.
Use this power to employ random reactions for good. It’s a super fun way to disrupt the existing Facebook ecosystem.
And start fights.
Any bad news you post on Facebook has the potential to get really weird from now on.
Also, are we now supposed to say, “I Sadded your photo of your dead cat.” Because I did. And so did my boss.
I guess I’m just a little bummed about all the missed opportunities. If we are going to sit down and take this BuzzFeedification of our feeds, we should at least get BuzzFeed’s wide range of applicable reactions.
Like and Love? One third of the reactions are the same reaction. “Yay,” the one reaction that seemed to be universally embraced when Facebook first tested its draft emoticons publicly, did not make the cut.
But the real problem is that the spectrum of reactions are not enough for our Facebook needs at all. We already know that Facebook purposely tries to artificially boost the positivity in our feeds to bring “good news” to all. Where’s the “Dislike” or “Meh” or “Just Watching This Thread to See How Racist That One Dude Will Get”? Maybe this last one could be a popcorn icon.
This whole range of emotions totally messes with the reason I use Facebook. The one thing that Facebook is great for is getting a quick easy read on what my friends like or “Like.” Now it’s impossible to know who thinks what. They’re all lumped together in a reaction cluster that only shows three of the six icons at a time.
And if you roll over them, it only shows a handful of which names picked which reaction.
Yes, if you click on THAT, then you get taken to a popup that reveals the truth about your friends’ opinions.
But who has time for that? I want to know now: DO YOU ALL LIKE MY BABY???
Also, what the hell is the word “reacted” doing in my notifications? Reacted sounds like someone went into anaphylactic shock.
Reactions have just made my online life much more complicated. I now have to worry how my Wows will be perceived, or the fact that I Liked something last year that in hindsight I clearly should have Hahaed. I have to think for a few extra seconds: Do I Like this or do I Love it? Do I want to be one of the Angrys? Can I really stand up and be the only one who is Sad? If not, what is wrong with me?
If Mark Zuckerberg is truly honest about his intentions to get the whole world online as part of this fever dream to have the entire planet participate in this great shared experience, he just made that a shit-ton harder. We’re never going to agree on anything again.
Follow the author at @awalkerinLA