Facebook has added a variety of new features in the past month, and in true Facebook fashion these features seem a little nonsensical.
For those wishing there was a way to express dislike for a status, Facebook granted its army of users that and more by giving them the ability to respond in a language linguists have barely begun to deeply decipher: emoji.
Now, reacting to a status can involve a heart emoji labeled “love,” a laughing face emoji labeled “haha,” a surprised face emoji labeled “wow,” a crying face emoji labeled “sad” and an angry face emoji fittingly labeled “angry.”
For so long, people of the Internet have been confined to a simple “like” and now, given a veritable plethora of reactions, it is difficult to decide whether a status is funny in a “haha” way or funny in a “wow” way. It’s more than we could have ever expected, but a cross that all Facebook users must bear as we make use of the social networking site trying tirelessly to stay relevant in 2016.
It seems Mark Zuckerberg is set on ensuring his brainchild remains fun for the hip, mobile-obsessed youth of today. In an interview with Wired, Facebook product designer Julie Zhuo spoke about Zuckerberg’s decision to add emotive icons. According to Wired, “In December of 2015, 1.44 billion people accessed Facebook on mobile. Of people who access it on both a monthly and daily basis, 90 percent of them do so via a mobile device. Commenting might afford nuanced responses, but composing those responses on a keypad takes too much time.” Thus, the emoji response was born.
The emoji responses aren’t the only new digital toy Facebook has added. The site also added a Periscope-like feature that allows users to “go live” and post live streams of whatever their heart desires. It’s not surprising that Facebook is trying to convince users to turn to video. According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, “The more the site can generate interest in watching video within the app, the more likely it is that users will stick around for ad-supported content.” The publication goes on to write that, “There has been a 400 percent increase in video published by people and brands over the past year on the platform.”
With Instagram and Snapchat dominating the social networking scenes, it’s hard for a site like Facebook to stay hip in a world in which likes on an Instagram post are worth more than likes on a Facebook profile picture. It’s lucky that Facebook decided to buy Instagram back in 2012. If Instagram was the baby, it seems that now it’s old enough to pay for Facebook’s nursing home. Fitting, considering Facebook has slowly become home to an older demographic.
According to Forbes, Facebook was the only network that saw use decline per month in 2014. If things go Zuckerberg’s way, the new features will help Facebook rise from the ashes, something I’m sure he would respond to with a heart emoji.