After Facebook publicly released a preview of their new “reactions” function there were several different responses.
Of course, Facebook stated that the motivator for this change was the overwhelming demand for a “dislike button”. Which was a strange way to introduce this idea, as the closes thing to a dislike here is probably the “angry” face.
But Facebook stated later that they did this for a reason- to create the most positive experience for as many users as possible.
So of course there has been a slight backlash as people fully realize that they can’t rate something they disagree with by using a “hate”, “meh”, or “disgust” face. Additionally, these faces probably never will be released unless Facebook decides to go a different direction with this initiative entirely.
What will this actually do?
Of course, we can’t really say these reaction emotions will all the sudden give marketers an epiphany in the form of data, but it will reveal a few clues and light a few paths.
The real change we see this having is the influence these visual emotion symbols will have our minds when we go about discovering a new piece of content. When you see a post with over 100 likes, you probably already know it’s going to be good, so it influences both the chances of you clicking it and your expectations for the post to meet.
Now, what if you see the following post with 2,100 likes and a 1,000 laugh votes:
Both your expectations have instantly been raised and you’re already preparing to click knowing that many other people have laughed at this.
Psychologically, this is an interesting effect that leads to the certain kinds of content being virally spread extremely far due to these emotional influencers.
Knowing this, it is quite likely that many companies that find their biggest success on Facebook will spin their content slightly to appear to one of these four new emoticons. Of course, we don’t expect these four emotions to be the only ones around for very long, as only have four is quite restricting.
Speaking of restricting, the emotions we see here cover solely the basics of positive emotions, laughter, love, and happiness. Besides generic sad and surprise, the one that stands out the most is the “angry” emoticon, which is indicative of the fact that Facebook will likely introduce more ways to express emotions that are not either happy or sad.
What’s the real reason we are seeing this introduction?
Zuckerberg and company are expressing this introduction as an alternative to a “like” because liking has historically been the only way for those that don’t want to write a comment to engage with a post. Now, you can say “hey I looked at this and this is how I feel about it” without even writing anything.
This additional way to engage with a post without actually typing anything is generally viewed as a good thing by most. Most engagement is good for online communication in the long run, especially with the things we can do with data now.
Who knows, maybe you’ll leave an angry face on an advertisement for an Android phone and you’ll see an iPhone ad the next day.