My initial reaction to the news a few weeks back that Facebook had added six new reaction buttons to serve as alternatives to “liking” posts was that it was about damn time. In the days that followed, however, I’ve clicked the new options a grand total of zero times.
Perhaps my indifference to Facebook’s newest features is that they’re not exactly the reactions I have to the posts I see in my news feed. For example, I’d be more likely to click a “vomit” button every time one of my friends posts about Donald Trump than I would the “love” or “angry” options.
The new buttons — which include “haha,” “wow” and “sad” — just don’t excite me as much as additional alternatives might. They read as though Mark Zuckerberg hit the Redbox on his way home from work one day, picked up Disney’s “Inside Out” and had an epiphany. Enough with Joy and Sadness, give me what I really feel scrolling through my news feed.
I spent a few minutes the other day looking at the posts my “friends” were serving up and came up with a few alternatives for the little blue “f.” You, my dear readers, are my witnesses to these five original ideas. Should Facebook choose to use them, my demand would be a few shares in the company and a lifetime block on “Candy Crush Saga” requests.
The “non-relative” button would be reserved for any time someone who shares your last name posts something you wouldn’t want associated with you. Remember that time your dad posted a new profile picture better suited for his farmersonly.com account? You would have the option of clicking the “non-relative” button to signal to anyone who might see it that you are not related, even if you only exist thanks to his once-raging libido.
This button also works for the times your mom writes on your wall to ask if the laxative she recommended is working for you or when your wife publicly begs you to not start watching “The Bachelor” until she gets home.
I would rate the “non-relative” button as a high priority for Facebook’s next reactions rollout.
“Fake” is another button that could best be used to discredit embarrassing posts made by ill-informed family members. It would really come in handy every time Uncle Chuck shares a story from a faux news service — like the one about the Swedish Civil War that erupted over the Muslim invasion — with a URL that ends in .info. You can also unleash the “fake” button’s power whenever Aunt Connie tags you in a photo of a coupon giving you $99 off a $100 purchase at Target.
You could also challenge the authenticity of videos showing pets accomplishing things most humans can’t and beyond-flattering selfies with a “fake” button.
OK, before you start accusing me of being overly cynical and snarky, let me tell you a bit about the “hugs” button. How frustrating is it when your friend writes a beautiful tribute to the parent they lost, but it also includes anecdotes that makes you second-guess if a “like” is appropriate? I like all the great things you’re saying about your mom, but I don’t want to imply I enjoy the fact that she’s no longer with us.
I suppose Facebook figures the “sad” button helps fill this void, but again, these types of posts aren’t just sad, they’re moving. How sweet would it be to have the “hugs” button in your arsenal? This way, with one click you could say, “Hey buddy, I’m real sorry. Here’s a virtual embrace.”
No, the “who” button would not be a way to react to posts about John Entwistle’s prowess on the bass guitar. Instead, you’d break this bad boy out every time you receive correspondence from someone whose very existence on this planet was unknown to you until the moment they wrote, “Hey, good-looking” on your wall.
Similar to the “non-relative” button, it could be a great way to disassociate yourself from potentially embarrassing posts, in particular ones from people you hardly know or have never even met.
When a semi-stranger comments on your check-in at the Elbow Room and asks you to “bring home the leftovers,” the “who” button would be a nice option to let everyone know you are not actually roommates with the guy who has Stone Cold Steve Austin as his profile picture.
There have been many times I wanted to tell someone their Facebook posts are giving me the chills, but couldn’t find the appropriate words to do so. Instead of having to write, ‘Hey, you’re a married father of three — why are you posting shirtless photos of yourself?” — I could simply hover my mouse over the “awkward” button and give them a gentle heads-up.
This could also be a valuable tool in the war against overshares — I’m talking to you, woman who went on a 750-word rant about your son’s girlfriend for 933 people you have an artificial relationship with.
This button could also come in handy for self-deprecating moments like the time you posted a joke and it received zero “likes” or “hahas” in its first hour. What a nice gesture it would be to show everyone you recognize your failed attempt at humor was just plain awkward.
Photo credit: Flickr.com/Christopher