ICYMI: Facebook just released “Reactions” – a set of new emojis you can use in addition to the tried and true [thumbs up emoji].
For a long Internet time, Facebook users have pined for an alternative to the “thumbs up,” because the world is not just black or white, a thumbs up or no thumb. For instance, how many times have you seen a loving tribute to a person or a pet that has passed away and wondered, “Should I give a thumbs up in support of my friend’s grief or does a thumbs up look like I’m approving death?” The problem is real.
Fortunately, Facebook was listening. According to their post about the new release, Facebook put a lot of time and research into Reactions. They determined through regional testing and what appears to be in-depth psychological research [pondering emoji] that we need the ability to express: love, surprise or awe, LOLing, sadness and anger – in addition to the general approval of the thumbs up.
[giant smile emoji] Yea! Being able to customize a reaction more succinctly may turn out to be a minor revolution. Perusing the social pundit blogs, the reaction to Reactions has been mixed, though mostly positive. [blushing emoji]
I love seeing a new emoji. I like how designers sculpt a little yellow ball to perfectly capture a particular feeling. Using emojis in communication clears a whole new path for creativity. In fact, challenging friends to write an entire sentence with emojis is one of my favorite new parlor games. [emoji eyeball – emoji heart – emoji cake.]
However, as I step back for the 50K ft. view [airplane emoji], I wonder about the loss of the craft with expression through words. As a writer, it is a looming concern. Are we circling back with digital cave paintings? Are emojis becoming a stand-alone language?
Referring back to the example of a Facebook post made by a friend who has lost his pet: In the past, in lieu of the dubious thumbs up, I would take the time to communicate sympathy via words, expressing the nuances of my empathy. Now, I can just click [sad emoji].
I have to believe the new Reactions will help us all enhance our communication with each other and not supplant our words. You can use the sad emoji for your friend’s deceased pet post [sad cat emoji] and add some words about how much you really liked Mr. Snickers [heart emoji].
What do you think? Do the new Reactions satisfy your Facebook expression needs? Did Facebook pick all the right expressions? Do you prefer “emoji” or “emojis” for the plural usage?
I challenge you to answer via emoji. [mischievous emoji]