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The New Facebook Reactions, One Week In

ReactionsToday is the one week anniversary of the widespread release of the new Facebook “Reactions. ” For years, Facebook has been struggling with its “Like” function.   No one wants to “Like” a fashion disaster or news of a breakup.  And yet the “Like” feature has been so essential to Facebook that the icon is perhaps more recognizable than the logo itself.

Announced last year and released last Wednesday, Facebook’s solution is “Reactions.” If you hover your cursor over the “like” icon, six choices now appear.  You can now respond to a post with “Like,” “Love,” “Haha,” “Wow,” “Sad,” and “Angry.” Users seem to be slowly but steadily adopting the new “Reactions” format and in general the response is positive.

However, if you manage a business Facebook page,  this could be a game changer in how you curate your page content.  You are quickly gathering new information on how people interact with each of your posts.  Over the next few months you will be learning what kind of posts inspire which reactions, an incredibly useful tool from a marketing perspective. You can even use it for competitor research.

One thing you may not have realized is that this will affect how Facebook algorithms curate newsfeeds.   Facebook has traditionally been more likely to show you a post that has more “Likes.”  For now, “Reactions” are being clumped together and treated as “likes” in order to determine what is an engaging post for newsfeed reach, but this will not always be the case.  Facebook is monitoring the current “Reactions” data and will be using it to create entirely new newsfeed algorithms.  In the future it may be harder to understand why or why not a Facebook spreads a post.  Will we mainly be served positive content because Facebook wants us to be happy and think of Facebook as a positive experience? Or will Facebook be more likely to serve us “angry” content because fear-based advertising works and they want us to stay actively engaged for longer? We don’t yet know, but it will be interesting to find out.

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