Rejoice, for Facebook has continued its trend of adding functionality that we did not need in our lives. Yes, finally the alternatives to the ‘like’ button we’ve all never asked for are here, brightening up our otherwise blue news feeds with colours like emoji yellow and garish pink. And let’s face it, it’s about time.
Remember the dark days? The days when you’d see a former colleague posting a status about her dead cat every day for a month, and all you could do was like it or, God forbid, engage with it using words. The days when you’d see a new photo album added by your cousin showing off all the pictures of their newborn child that, in your gran’s opinion, they were too young to have, and all you could do was give each and every one a thumbs up. The days when someone would post some sentimental text-over-image update and as you scrolled by your only option was to like the fact that good things don’t come to those who wait, they come to those who do.
Those days are gone, and now we have been thrust thumbs-first into a new age of engagement. Now not only can we like something, but we can love it, we can haha it, we can wow it, we can sad it, and we can angry it. We can take that mundane status that a person we never really knew at school but added anyway has posted, and we can respond to it with all the emotions available to the human brain.
We can wow the fact that the girl who used to sit next to us in GCSE science and always smelt a bit funny has just seen the CUTEST puppy and oh my god they want one so bad lol.
We can angry a status that our questionably racist uncle posted about wanting to leave the EU because of all them Romans coming over here and doing things.
We can sad all of the dead pets, the poorly looking rabbits, the puppies that only have three legs, and the favourite shirts that have an unmovable coffee stain on them.
Because ultimately a like wasn’t good enough for any of that. A like was too vague, too nondescript, and too likely to be misinterpreted. A like could have meant that you actually liked that someone’s lunch had been ruined because of YOU KNOW WHO in the office being so ANNOYING. And while secretly you did like that outburst of passive aggressive work-based rage, society expected you to be sad about it. Society would look at our like of that status and question whether or not you too ruined lunch by being so ANNOYING. Society would turn against you.
So thank you, Facebook, for reminding us that we are human after all and capable of experiencing a whole range of feelings. Thank you for making us individuals again and not just like-clicking machines. Thank you for opening up a whole new world of attempts by brands to get us to engage with their content. Thank you for creating an extra page on any social media manager’s monthly KPI report.
Is this progress? Is this the advancement of the human race? IS THIS EVOLUTION?