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Facebook releases “reactions,” research shows that users are almost ambivalent

Facebook’s latest update endeavor has been to release “reactions”. Similar to smartphone emojis, reactions are ways of responding to someone’s message with symbols including: smiley face, sad face, hearts, etc. This was the alternative to Facebook’s never-ending promise of a “dislike” button.

facebook reactions

Facebook users can now react to posts

Like anything else, Facebook has to update itself from time-to-time in an effort to stay fresh and current. Its latest endeavor has been to release “reactions”.

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Similar to smartphone emojis, reactions are ways of responding to someone’s message with symbols including: smiley face, sad face, hearts, etc. This was the alternative to Facebook’s never-ending promise of a “dislike” button.

Research examines “reactions” approval

Research done by YouGov examined American’s approval, disapproval, and uncertainty in response to the reactions. Sixty-six percent of people are in favor of the reactions while 14 percent disapprove, leaving 20 percent unsure.

The approval percentages were looked at a bit more closely, with 42 percent citing “somewhat” approval, and 24 percent giving “strong” approval. In terms of demographics, there was not too much of a difference. The findings show that highest disapproval rate is for those over 65 at 22 percent.

Better than a “dislike” button?

Research continued with the aforementioned “dislike” button, as the study ran numbers on reactions versus dislike. It was found that 43 percent would prefer to just have a “like” and “dislike” button, 29 percent favor the new reactions, 15 percent would like to keep it original with just the “like” button, with 14 percent left over in the unsure category.

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Lastly, like any good research study, YouGov looked at the impact of reactions on Facebook users. Fifty-five percent believe it will have no impact, nine percent believe Facebook will be “much better” with reactions, and three percent believe it will be “much worse”.

Think before you react

The five reactions available currently are: a heart to signify “love”, a laughing face to signify “haha”, a surprised face to signify “wow”, a crying face to signify “sad”, and a red face to signify “angry”.

While I have yet to use them myself, the option to use reactions does make sense. For example, it always seemed a little dark to me when someone would post a status about the passing of a loved one, only to be greeted with the notification of Joe Schmo “liking” it. Now, Joe can react with a sad face as a way of expressing sympathy.

However, like with any other form of computer-mediated communication, it can be easy for these reactions to be misinterpreted.

#FacebookReactions

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Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

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