According to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook users request a “dislike” button on a regular basis. He quickly noted, however, that the company would never consider making one because it wouldn’t make the world around us any better.
I agree. Haters and trolls abound online without popular platforms encouraging negativity. Social media should inspire conversation and serve as a means to connect people and ideas while affecting positive change. Who knows where it will go as Facebook (and others) address the need to express emotions.
“I think giving people the power to express more emotions would be powerful, but we need to find out the right way to do it, so that it is a force for good and not bad and demeaning the person out there,” said Zuckerberg.
Certainly an “excited” button would be more powerful than a “like.” A “surprised” button would give you a way to express that someone caught you off guard with the information, but there are always two sides to the word surprised. The complex dualities found in much written language (especially in English) would make any new button a target for misuse. I would actually like to use a Dislike button when my very good friend announces she has cancer. Too many people would use it to shut down others on the Internet with whom they hold a difference of opinion.
Emoticons developed as a way to help us express emotions visually. Rather than add new text buttons to our platforms to express emotion, maybe we should all become more accustomed to adding visualizations into our posts and comments instead.
Emojitracker counts the number of Emoji used on Twitter in real-time. According an interview with its creator, Matthew Rothenberg, “A lot of these emoji characters have personalities and connotations to using them socially. That’s not a technical invention, that’s a social and cultural invention, something we’ve done ourselves.”
So are likes and comments (with some visual enhancements) all we really need when it comes down to it?