UPDATED: My reaction to Facebook “reaction buttons”: Don’t overthink ’em!

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October 30, 2016 update
According to my own reviews, most people continue to use the LIKE button over others. Makes sense to me and I do the same myself.

Facebook also updated the buttons to be Halloween-themed for Halloween 2016.


facebook reactionsFeb. 24, 2016 update:

The buttons are now live on Facebook. You have to hover over the Like button to show them and can then pick one. I was only able to do this on desktop and not yet inside the app.

January 27, 2016 post below:

facebook likeSo Facebook is getting more buttons. The Like button wasn’t enough, as Time (and others) reported in January 2016. New buttons mentioned are:

  • Angry
  • Sad
  • Wow
  • Haha
  • Love

So there will be five more ways for marketers to overanalyze things on Facebook. Does an angry reaction signal higher engagement than a sad one? What if I like something a lot but don’t quite love it? Can I push them both to split the difference? Will there be universal definitions? Haha  – did they mean LOL?

How will people – especially us marketers – use these words in a sentence?

“Hey, @ctrappe, I saw that 1,000 people sadded your post.” 

“Of course. It was a sad story.”

So, I hope marketers won’t use more potential engagement metrics as another excuse to slow down the sharing of meaningful, relevant and interesting authentic stories on Facebook and all relevant channels. I’ve taken a stab here at some of the potentially frequently asked questions that marketers might have:

What does this mean?

It means that people can now do more than liking your post.

Do we need to redo our storytelling strategy?


I’ve been using LIKES as a success metric in my reporting. Will those numbers now go down?

Probably, unless people really only like your posts. In that case they might only like and not sad, wow, or angry your posts. It would have been easier if the button had names that had verb versions, by the way. But, even if you get hahas or loves you could just roll it all up into one engagement metric called: reactions, the artist formerly known as like.

Can we disable the angry button?

I certainly hope not.

How will we know if hahas are meant positively or negatively?

No idea. Maybe they can click the like or sad buttons at the same time?


pokeWill these reaction buttons stick around?

No clue, but perhaps more importantly: Will people use them? Time will tell. By the way, did you know that the Poke  function still exists on Facebook? It does, go to somebody’s profile and it’s in the drop down by the Message button (as of 1/27/2016). When was the last time you poked somebody or were poked? I got poked maybe three months ago and I thought it was weird. Maybe even inappropriate?

The Time article also said that Facebook will use the additional data from the liking, loving, angrying and saddening (haha) to make our Facebook feeds more relevant to us. That’s great if it happens.

One thing to keep in mind is that  most – the large majority really – of people do not like (aka engage with posts). There’s many more who read only and don’t do anything other than that. That’s still engagement, of course, just not engagement as in I got you to do something with your mouse. I’m fairly liberal with my liking of posts I enjoy, but there are some topics I hardly ever like – mostly because I don’t want my friends to see that I liked it.

Either way, now we know that these reaction buttons are coming. No need to overthink it. Use to time to return to finding stories worth sharing, producing them and sharing them with the people who’d benefit from consuming them the most.

Related Facebook items from the blog:

How to edit Facebook places

Facebook isn’t always good for real-time news and information

What’s Facebook Live?

Profile “pictures” can now be short videos

The below was written in 2015:

Why I LIKE the Facebook DISLIKE button
like button

Facebook adding a dislike button could be a great addition for Facebook users. The announcement that Facebook is going to test the button was reported by The Next Web on Sept. 15, 2015.

Now, when brands share overly promotional messages in my stream of friends’ baby pictures, humble brags and other personal updates I can publicly show that I disliked somebody’s message. I hope Facebook will use this to show me more relevant content. And brands can use it to refine their content to be more like a dinner party and not an advertising stream.

It will be interesting to see how brands will use the data they can gather from getting the thumbs down. Now, I know many brands who proudly report (and they should) how many likes a post received. Will they use the negative feedback? I hope so.

Facebook dislike button can mean show of support
It could get interesting when a post is of a negative nature and we want to show our support but the only way to do that is by pushing the dislike button – because you know we don’t really like what happened. For example, let’s say somebody shares a story of a disaster or something else similarly bad. We may want to show our support, but it’s not something that we would like. We would click dislike, but really it’s a sign of support and acknowledgement.

Maybe we need an “OK, I read this” button next?

Seriously, though, the dislike button could end up being a great tool to get a better pulse on true engagement. Just don’t feel too down on yourself when more people dislike a post than like it.

Since we can’t like everything going on in our and our (Facebook) friends’ lives, a dislike button is just part of life. I applaud Facebook for finally adding it. I may start feeling differently when people start disliking my posts … 🙂

[FOR CONSUMERS] How to use the Facebook Reaction Buttons

Those new Facebook reaction buttons might get more complicated than the LIKE button. At least with the LIKE button we could explain that it was virtually the only way to acknowledge a post publicly without commenting

Like it to acknowledge it, to actually like it and to even offer support. It was the only one-click way to that. Of course, people could always leave a comment.

And now people can wow, sad, be surprised, angry, wow and like something. The flood gates to misinterpretation and further discussion have been opened.
“Why would you wow my breakup post?”

“Employee fired after she sadded something employer thought should be wowed.”
I certainly hope we won’t see this headline but who knows who might get offended by what.

Some reactions are simpler than others:


Use when somebody shares an accomplishment. But this could be read positive and negatively, too.
Wow, I can’t believe you are that good.

Recommended reading: Is the smiley passive aggressive?


Use when something obviously bad happened.


This one is harder in my opinion. Few things make me truly angry. Maybe this one is just a level up from Sad?


Use when it’s something funny and it was meant to be funny.


Something truly outstanding? Is this better than Wow?


Based on “reactions” I’m seeing in my network it appears that most people are sticking with the Like button.
Maybe they have some of the same troubles trying to pick the most appropriate reaction or maybe they haven’t figured out how to find the new reaction buttons.

How to find the Facebook buttons:

On desktop – hover of the Like button

On iPhone – gently push the Like button

Both ways will reveal the buttons’ pictures. Gently click on them to see what each one stands for – in case the visual depiction isn’t good enough, which it wasn’t for me.

If the reaction buttons will increase or decrease engagement will remain to be seen. At least, I hope they don’t create confusion when somebody picked the “wrong one.”

Recommended reading: Storytelling isn’t about being right or wrong

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