February 2016 archive
After using Facebook Reactions for two days now (after writing about it on Wednesday), I find myself overall pleased with the ability to do more than just "Like" a post. Sure, I would like more "reactions" (most notably the ability to leave a "WTF" reaction to most current political posts!) but I also understand the need of the designers to limit the choices. (This Wired article had some good insight into the design challenges.)
But now I find myself wondering:
1. Will this change DECREASE the number of text comments?
Previously because the only option was to "like" a post, if there was one that was sad (ex. death of a loved one or pet) I would often write something. Now there is the option to choose "Sad". Ditto for the other reactions.
2. Will this change INCREASE the number of interactions?
On the other hand, now you do have options when you don't want to "like" a post but just don't know what to say in words. Previously you might have NOT engaged with the post at all. Now you could choose a reaction as a way of interacting. As a friend wrote on Facebook:
now people who weren't going to take the time to write out a text comment anyway will be able to at least express something because they now have a choice other than just like or nothing.
3. Will Facebook share the Reactions data with Page administrators?
For Facebook Pages, when we go into the "Insights" area, will we be able to see the different "reactions" to a post? I suspect the answer is "yes", but on any of the Pages for which I am an administrator I haven't yet seen people using Reactions. (I imagine I'll be able to answer this myself in a little while as people use the reactions more.)
4. How well will the use of these reactions enable Facebook to target advertising?
Let's be clear, rolling out these reactions helps Facebook in a massive way with being able to better target you for advertising. If you previously "liked" a post about, oh, kale ... but in truth were only doing it because you liked that the person shared the post, Facebook might have interpreted that as support and showed you ads about kale.
Now you can choose "Angry" as a reaction to any article about kale, which Facebook could then use to NOT show you positive ads about kale, but perhaps instead ads for the "kale-haters" club or something like that.
(I should note that I can't recall ever actually clicking on an ad in Facebook, but maybe some day I will.)
5. Will Facebook use the Reactions information to tweak what is displayed in our NewsFeed?
For instance, if I use an Angry reaction for every political article about Donald Trump, will Facebook change my NewsFeed to show me fewer Trump articles? (But what if I like being angry?)
There seems like there could be a great possibility for manipulation of the NewsFeed and thus of people's emotions. (As Facebook did as a test back in 2012.)
6. Will Facebook provide information to the public about the use of Reactions?
Will Facebook ever provide some aggregate data about how people are using Reactions? For instance the number of posts with each reaction... or the percentages of usage of the different reactions?
Facebook obviously has the capacity to gather all this data on a truly massive scale. It would be great if at some point they could provide some views into what kind of usage they are seeing.
Obviously question #3 I may soon be able to answer myself, but the others are ones that I'll continue to wonder about.
What about you? What do you think about Facebook Reactions? What questions do you have?
Alerted to this by a post from the ever-watchful Christopher Penn on Facebook, I confirmed that Reactions also works in Facebook mobile apps. On the iOS app if you just quickly tap the "Like" button you will "like" that post as you always have done. But if you hold down your tap just a moment longer, you will get a pop-up menu:
After you have chosen one of these reactions, it will then appear at the bottom of the post in both an emoji form and in a text word visible to you:
As with a standard "Like" you can just tap the word to remove the reaction. If you do the longer tap you can change your reaction.
Now, on my iPhone, I had to kill off the Facebook app and re-launch it in order for the reactions to appear but once I did that it worked fine.
The six "reactions" are:
I expect we'll initially see a lot of playing around with these reactions as people experiment with the reactions, but longer term I do see a value in this increased range of reactions. For instance, there are certainly news posts being passed around right now that I want to indicate that I'm glad someone shared... but I certainly don't "like" the content of the news post.
Similarly when a tragic event happens in someone's life and I may not have the words to say in a comment, it hasn't felt right to "like" their post - this now gives an option of "Sad". Having said that... I can think of some posts that I "dislike" but that are not "sad" and don't rise to the level of me being "angry". My option there may be to continue to simply do nothing.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see what this does to our NewsFeeds over the next few days and over the weeks ahead.
What do you think? Do you like having the new "reactions"? Will you use them? Or do you think they are unnecessary? Will you just stick with the plain old "Like"?
And what "reaction" will you give this blog post when you see it on Facebook? ;-)
UPDATE #1 - After a few hours of using Reactions, a couple of additional points.
1. Only for posts, not comments - the Reactions buttons appear only for the "Like" link for a post / status update / photo / etc. If you want to react to a comment you are still limited to "Like".
2. Notifications mention reactions - when you see pop-up notifications or look in your list of notifications, the new Reactions are displayed separately from the traditional Likes.
One thing to keep in mind, too, is that beyond helping you express yourself more, the Reactions also help Facebook in more accurately tracking what you think about NewsFeed items and therefore allowing them to more carefully target advertising to you.
UPDATE #2 - A very large number of articles about Reactions up on Techmeme.
This article in Wired provides a good view into the design of the Reactions and the testing that wound up with the 6 reactions launched today.
Today in about an hour, at 17:45 CET (UTC+1), our Chief Economist Michael Kende will join a Mobile World Live panel to provide commentary before and after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's keynote at 18:00 CET. You can watch Michael's panel and the Zuckerberg keynote at:
An Interoperable IoT? Deadline of Feb 22 for Proposals for IoT Semantic Interoperability Workshop (Featured Blog)
How Can We Make The IoT More Interoperable? Deadline of Monday 22 Feb for proposals for IoT Semantic Interoperability Workshop
How can we make the Internet of Things (IoT) more interoperable? How can we help ensure that when you buy a light bulb from one IoT vendor it will work with the light bulb from another IoT vendor? How can we avoid getting to a place where we have to use many different apps to control all the different devices in our homes?