It’s been a year in the making and after months of research and testing Facebook has finally gone live with Facebook Reactions. In response to growing demand for more variety than just comments and likes, Facebook users now have five new gesture based emoji at their finger-tips. With 1.44 billion people accessing Facebook on their mobile, Mark Zuckerberg and his team recognised the need for a ‘quick and easy’ way for users to respond to comments and reactions was born.
The explosion of the use of emoji in everyday life has meant that reactions should be the next natural step for Facebook. The challenge for Mark Zuckerberg and his team was no doubt which emoji to use. With so many sentiments used across the platform, how could the Facebook team ensure that the final list of reactions would be well received? They also had to take universal sentiments into consideration – which reactions would work best across the globe and in the different Facebook countries?
The beauty of emoji is that they are easily translated across language and across culture. By analysing the sentiments used most often, Facebook settled on the reactions that we have increasingly started seeing in our feeds – ‘love’, ‘haha’, ‘wow’, ‘sad’ and ‘angry’.
We’ve been watching with interest to see whether Facebook users have embraced the new reactions. Have they had an impact on the iconic ‘like’ button which has worked so well for us over the last seven years? Will they make a lasting impression or be replaced by another tool developed in response to user demand?
It’s relatively easy to ‘like’ a post but reactions is asking us to go one step further, displaying and sharing our emotions with others, with ‘love’, ‘haha’, ‘wow’, ‘sad’ and ‘angry’. There will be some users who will no doubt find it difficult to use these reactions, whilst others will see it as a natural extension of their communication in everyday life.
We’ve been keeping an eye on the most commonly used emoji since they launched a couple of weeks ago. According to Facebook, ‘love’ is the most used reaction in all Facebook countries although in the Oakbase office we’ve seen a fair few ‘wows’ and ‘hahas’ too!
Reactions has been hotly debated and is undoubtedly the next natural step for Facebook who have listened to demand from their users. Ultimately this new tool is all about increasing engagement, which in turn will make news feeds and ads even more personalised. We’ll watch with interest to see how reactions develops over the coming months and if Facebook comes under pressure to add a few more emoji along the way!