We all know about Facebook’s most popular button: the Like button. You’ve probably already used the thumbs-up icon more times than you care to admit (perhaps to boost your friends’ self-esteem whenever they share a funny-cat video), but now, Facebook is finally giving us the opportunity to express ourselves in a slightly more complex way.
Announced late last week, the new Facebook experiment, dubbed “Reactions,” will let users express six different emotions that previously were neglected by the very limited Like button. So now, when you’re feeling angry, sad, loving, happy, shocked or like laughing,you get to choose an emoji that represents each new emotion.
People who wanted more depth to their Facebook experience beyond the ultra-simplicity of just Liking everything went wild with excitement.
Currently, this new feature is being tested only in Spain and Ireland, so if it becomes a hit in these two countries, you can bet your bottom dollar that the emojis will eventually be rolled out to a North American audience.
the Like button…actually restricts the way we experience human emotions
According to CNET, after years of being content to allow users to only express themselves in a positive way with the Like button, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has finally come around to admitting that it actually restricts the way we experience human emotions. That’s an overdue step in the right direction, as users can now express the not-so-sunshiny side of life with emoticons for anger, sadness and shock!
Interestingly, these new emoticons have replaced an early idea to add a much-talked about—and some would say balanced—Dislike button to the social media network. However, Zuckerberg did away with that idea late last year.
Unfortunately, these emoticons won’t exactly increase the level of intellectual discussion on Facebook, which is a site that, for the most part, gets by on people posting images of what they just ate, what cute things their babies just did, and in the more regrettable moments unflattering pictures of drunkenness and other questionable behavior.
As for the emojis themselves, they’re not anything new when you look beyond Facebook. Originating from cellphone makers in Japan in the 1990s, these cute, little pictures were included in their texting apps. Since then, they’ve become a hit pretty much worldwide. They’re so standardized today that you can find them on your iPhone iOS, for instance.
While this emoji announcement and testing phase is undoubtedly exciting news for those of us who spend a lot of our time on Facebook, it’s not just users who may benefit from being able to express themselves in new and different ways on the social network. Facebook also benefits from users incorporating these emojis into their daily Facebook routine.
With each new emoji selection that a user picks for any given post, Facebook will be able to glean just a little bit more information about user behavior. This, of course, is extremely important for the company since it needs these details for ad targeting, which makes sense; Facebook’s profits coming mainly from advertising on the social network.
Featured image, emoji image via Shutterstock.