• Christian Michaels

Reacting to Facebook Reactions: Do Users Still Wish for a ‘Dislike’?

​Well, it’s official: Facebook have made good on their promise for an extra dimension to the ‘like’ button, and whereas at first we were worried about the effects a ‘dislike’ button would have on branded pages, we’ve instead been left scratching our heads at the chosen development.

A few days ago, Facebook began rolling out their latest feature across Spain and Ireland in order to get user feedback. Sentiment has been mixed at best, which leads us to wonder if a clear-cut Dislike button might have been more welcome after all.

The new ‘Reactions’ range from ‘yay’ to ‘sad’ and allow a more expressive user experience on Facebook – who hasn’t been unsure of whether it’s appropriate to like someone’s touching memorial status to their late relative, or to leave well alone? Although it seems pretty clear cut how Facebook Reactions could make people more empathic to their friends’ situations, people are missing one fatal flaw: it can’t detect sarcasm.

As political enthusiasts over in the States discovered this year when they attempted to measure voter sentiments using Twitter, sarcasm can’t be effectively measured because it all comes down to interpretation. So when a Facebook user posts a frustrated status about having a mildly bad day, how will they (and Facebook, upon measuring such metrics) be sure that the ‘yay’ reaction is genuine rather than someone taking the Michael?

This is all very well if you use Facebook personally and you know your friends well enough to understand when they’re joking and when they’re not, but what does it mean for brands? Once again, sarcasm has the potential to mess up metrics – as well as the looming threat of users repeatedly using the ‘angry’ reaction for no logical or fair reason. To that end, it could have a similar effect as a straight up Dislike button.

Potentially, however, Facebook Reactions could give more to brand analytics than the like button could ever have dreamed of; now user sentiment can be gauged and the success of specific content measured more accurately. Of course, that still depends on a correct interpretation of the reactions being used.

Overall, it seems to be a double-edged sword: there’s the potential for better reporting, but also for brands being sunk almost immediately by an influx of ‘angry’ reactions. But how does the feature stand up against the Dislike button we thought would be coming? Well, it’s less worrying for brands as the different reactions allows for a greater range of emotions than simply like or dislike. Sadly, it still doesn’t seem like a purely positive experience, but at least it’s a solution that can do some good. We hope.

Interested in bringing your Facebook presence to life? Get in touch with the Christian Michaels Agency to find out more about our social media marketing packages.

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