Facebook Launches Reactions

Tepid no more, Facebook allows you to express joyously now

To all of us who have forever been wanting more than just a ‘Like’ button on Facebook, there’s news! Facebook has finally heard us!

Facebook, on Wednesday launched ‘Reactions’ for all its users worldwide.

Given that Facebook’s become more that just social media site — it’s evolved to a platform where people express such a diverse range of emotions and reactions that a standardised ‘Like’ response was just not cutting for a lot of situations. People share stuff about themselves, communicate with their loved ones, and do a lot more; hence the need to be able to express in ways other than just “like” it or comment upon stuff was a popular need.

Something like “Reactions” would enable people to do precisely that. While Reactions actually is an extension of the “Like” button on Facebook, yet it enables the users to interact with, or respond to a post on Facebook in ways other than just “liking” it.
 Amongst the new available reactions are emotions like Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry.

These show in the form of emoticons, so if you’re using Facebook on a mobile app, all you have to do is hold the like button and the Reactions tab will pop up with the emoticons available for you to choose from.
 On a computer you can do the same by holding your cursor over the “Like” button for a few seconds and clicking on the emoticon once the tab pops up.

What’s really nice is that you can also see who reacts how to a certain post, much the same way you could check who “liked” a certain post — by clicking on the “likes”.

Facebook had been testing Reactions in smaller (is anything about Facebook small though?) groups and in certain countries for the last year, to see how people react to it.
 Ireland and Spain were two countries that saw such testing by Facebook. The company ran a pilot of Reactions in these countries, offering them seven emotions to choose from. The reactions in almost every market had been positive, and it was then that Facebook decided to roll out the feature for users worldwide.
 The only emoticon of the seven emotions not present on the final version of Reactions is that of ‘yay’.

For more than a year we have been conducting global research including focus groups and surveys to determine what types of reactions people would want to use most. We also looked at how people are already commenting on posts and the top stickers and emoticons as signals for the types of reactions people are already using to determine which reactions to offer” the company said in its announcement on its official blog.

“People wanted to express empathy and make it comfortable to share a wider range of emotions” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.

But there’s still something missing. There was also the request for a “Dislike’ button. In fact plenty of debates ensued over adding this button, but Facebook chose not to go with it.
 The fear was that a ‘Dislike’ button could promote cyber-bullying, and add to negativity on the site, as well as make people’s moods sink, instead of lightening them up like the Reactions are supposed to do.

Smart move Facebook. Here’s a Like for that one!

While the fun side of Reactions certainly does exist for most users who are loving it, there is also a commercial side to it. Facebook can also use your “reactions” to almost anything for its advantage; towards targeted advertising. It could use your “reactions” to track user behaviour, and make its ad delivery more effective. It could also use it to infer what you might want to see more of.

This would make your “reactions” a part of the greater world of online marketing which is solely powered by commercial motivations, are we being cynical now?

While being able to express a wider variety of emotions on the social media, and more easily and freely being able to do it, is something that is certainly fun and is being loved by most users, it could have a dark side to it as well. Well, we hope not. If Facebook is savvy enough to understand the downside of a ‘Dislike’ button, they sure are a smart enough to know what will really peeve people off — a Big Brother Watching repeat so soon after the NSA debacle in the U.S.!

Originally published at Chip-Monks.