To Like…or Love, HaHa, Yay, Wow, Sad, or Angry — Facebook to Debut New “Reactions”

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The “like” button on Facebook is a much loved, and used, thing. Statistics show that the 1.6 billion Facebook users click the like button six billion times a day. That’s a lot of liking going on.

The like button has really been a way for people to recognize, support, or appreciate anything posted by other users on your timeline. But what if someone posts something on your timeline, say a rancid political opinion that really bugs you. You want a way to show that disapproval.

That’s why there has been speculation Facebook would add a “dislike” button. Some Facebook users have been advocating for that since the early days, but in September of last year, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the social media giant never considered adding a dislike button because of its negativity.

But for those who want more than a like button, there is hope. Facebook is testing “Reactions.” Similar to the like button, Reactions is a series of icons that will allow users to respond to any post on Facebook with something beyond a simple like. They’ve been testing six additional options: Anger, Wow, Yay, Love, Sad, and Haha. These would be added to the like button.

This is how Reactions will work. The new icons won’t be up at all times, but if the user holds on the like button long enough or hovers over it (depending on the device being used), the Reactions will appear and can be selected.

Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox delivered the news in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek in late January. Cox said the new feature would roll out in the next few weeks, both in the U.S. and globally.

In the story, Cox said Facebook has been testing Reactions in Ireland and Spain early last fall, and then added Chile, the Phillipines, Portugal, Columbia, and Japan.

Cox explained Facebook’s reasoning behind the addition of Reactions, “You can love something. You can be sad about something. You can laugh out loud at something. We know on phones people don’t like to use keyboards, and we also know that the like button does not always let you say what you want.”

That could be true is someone posts a death in the family or some other calamity. Plus, if someone posts something truly spectacular, wow is probably much more applicable than a simple like. In the Bloomberg story, Cox said these six additional options are the most common comments on Facebook posts in general. They just haven’t had an icon until Reactions. The six new Reactions are not finalized at this point.

What does this mean for our clients when posting on their practice Facebook pages? You should be able to get much better feedback when you add new equipment and new procedures. You could even propose that you’re thinking of adding a procedure or something like a new laser system, giving your clients the option to comment on the possibility. Your patients can give you much clearer interactions and that can guide some of the decisions you make going forward.

In the end, it will further enhance communication between you and your clients. And that’s always a good thing.

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