Facebook just added emotions to the “like” button. Instead of just “like” you can now like, love, haha, sad, wow, and angry a post.
Before the new emotions, the “like” button was a way to show support. Or show that you cared. It was simple: care or don’t care. Like or don’t like. “Liking” my new photo album showed me that you were interested in my hike in Peebles Island State Park. “Liking” a status about an anniversary of friendship was something celebratory, and “liking” a post about a death or loss was a way of showing support for someone in need. It’s true that a “thumbs-up” is rather misleading, but it became a staple of Facebook and the foundation upon which social-media users gained confidence from eachother.
Now, with the new emotions, Facebook has made a (failed) attempt to codify human response to a post. It is no longer about showing support, but trying to capture human emotional response to what they see. Honestly, of the emotion responses I’ve gotten so far, at least 80% have been jokes and I really have no idea what they mean. “Wow” 🙊 on someone’s post about how they’re going to miss their apartment after they graduate is irrelevant and just noise on my newsfeed. Tell me, what does that mean? The other 20% feel weaker than if someone had just “liked” it. Instead of supporting what I was up to, people are now giving watered down no-way-heartfelt responses. Looking at the “likes” on my posts used to be a great way to see which of my friends on social media cared about what I was up to. Now it’s some hodge-podge of emoticons that really don’t represent anything more meaningful.
Facebook, stop over-simplifying human emotional interaction. With great power comes great responsibility.
Afterthought: It also segregates users. It puts more attention on the users that respond to a post with emotions other than like. Why do that?