The good news is that Facebook has finally made a noticeable advance forward after a period of stagnancy. The bad news is that we may now be more confused, hurt, and tied up by our friends’ reactions to the things we post.
I logged on today and saw little heart bubbles floating around the bottom of some friends’ posts. I thought to myself, Well it’s finally here.
For those of you still living in the era of two hours ago, Facebook has given users the option to do a lot more than just Like. Now you can be angry, sad, amazed, or laugh at a post, in addition to being able to Love it.
Because Liking was never enough.
I can see why Facebook thinks this is a worthwhile step forward. It gives users the opportunity to react in a more interactive way. It’s for those of us who felt weird “Liking” a post about a dead pet dog or a sick grandma. Now we can show our support by putting a sad face on it. Or perhaps we can show how angry one political contestant makes us, rather than throwing an ambiguous Like at it.
But I also see a plethora of downsides to the social media giant’s new additions.
I see controversy and conflicts flaring up, whether intentionally or on accident. One person posts something, and a friend puts an angry face on it and suddenly questions are flooding the poster’s mind. Did he mean it as a joke? Does he really not like this?
I see so much time being wasted figuring these things out, trying to decipher the intent behind a sad face or a laughing face. (Think about it: A laughing face from one friend could mean something entirely different than a laughing face from another.)
On top of the time wasted on these new emotions, I see even more crippling pressure to measure up, to get enough laughing faces or wow faces. Because it was hard enough to earn Likes, but now we have even more to gain. And therefore, more to lose.
If I could only get a few more laughing faces, THEN I would know my joke was funny….
Why are so many people Liking this post about my uncle’s cancer instead of putting sad faces on it?
Why aren’t more people as amazed by this as I am?
Granted, there will always be those of you with a steely resolve and a healthy indifference to these things, but sadly, you are the strong minority. I foresee—and I hope I am wrong—people like me putting even more pressure on ourselves to measure up on social media. We have more ends to tie up and more pressure to react well, and subliminally, will be allowing Facebook to have even more of a foothold and input into our lives.
The encouragement I want to offer now is this: Remember your true emotions. Remember your close family and friends who have laughed at the dinner table with you and held you while you’ve cried. Don’t get too caught up in Reactions to your posts. Don’t waste hours deciding which Reactions to give. Don’t let your worth or your feelings be determined by the reactions on Facebook, but root yourself in the relationships that matter.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.