Last week, Facebook rolled out its new reactions in two countries, Ireland and Spain. So for once we are in somewhat of a unique position, we get to be the first to test out what is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated features to arrive on the platform for some time now. 

For years, people have pleaded for Facebook to introduce a ‘dislike’ button. A dislike button was never going to happen. Despite the fact that not every situation is “like” appropriate, a dislike button is a negative response. The challenge for Facebook has been to come up with an alternative solution which allows people to respond in other ways in Facebook but not be overwhelmingly negative at the same time.

Recently, Facebook confirmed that they were working on a “dislike button” of sorts. Well this is the answer, Facebook is introducing reactions so that you can respond to posts in different ways however it is not a dislike button. If you are in Ireland or Spain (the two countries where the new reactions are being tested) then all you should have to do is hover over the like button on the desktop or long press the like button in the app which will bring up a rolodex of the different emotions you can select.

The emotions include the standard like, then we have new additions such as love, laughing, yay, wow, sad and angry. It does seem a bit sketchy at the moment though, while I can see the new reactions on the desktop, they don’t seem to have made it onto my app yet. So the app is the old like button system and the desktop has the new reactions. Thanks for the consistency there Facebook.

So what is it like? Well at the moment still pretty quiet. I don’t think people realise how to activate the rolodex at the moment, there has been no instruction or prompts from Facebook when the new feature was rolled out to profiles. It just appeared and nothing to say, ‘oh by the way here is how to access other responses.’

It is certainly refreshing being able to react to posts in different ways. However what is interesting is that you can’t react to comments on posts with the new reactions, it is just the standard like button. So I may like a post but a reply on that post could make me angry, well I can’t use the angry reaction emoji on that comment. It feels somewhat limited that the new reactions are confined to posts and status updates only.

The good news is that it feels right, Facebook has needed to give users something more than a like button for a long time now. News is being shared on Facebook now more than ever before and images from the refugee crises, or tragic news stories cannot be acknowledged with a thumbs up. It is simply too insensitive.

Scrolling through my News Feed this morning I can see different reactions on different posts and stories and already it does feel normal. It feels right, it feels more appropriate because the reality is that human emotion is complex and it is about time Facebook allowed us to express it in more than one way.

Will these emojis become core of the Facebook experience? Time will soon tell.

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