The way users interact with social media platforms has changed many times since their inception, often altering as a result of some fine-tuning of the user interface, and one such prominent example is the reaction.
In 2017, Facebook introduced the ability to respond to messages within Messenger with an array of emojis, and later the same year brought the feature to the platform more broadly. According to TechCrunch, Twitter might soon do the same.
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Presently, it's only possible to 'like' a tweet, comment or response with the love-heart symbol, but over the last month the micro-blogging titan has been surveying its users about the introduction of a broader set of reactions.
The survey contained a number of sets of these reactions and asked participants to decide which set they preferred. Of the seven proposed reactions, five of them remained consistent across the sets – Like, Funny, Interesting, Sad, and Awesome – and used commonly associated emojis.
The other two options were described differently in various sets, with Support and Angry being replaced in some situations by Agree and Disagree, the latter of which takes a more direct approach to a voting system.
The implications of 'downvoting' or 'disliking' a tweet was also questioned in the survey, with participants being asked how they'd feel about being on the receiving end of such a reaction.
Reactions are arguably a solution to situations where a simple 'like' doesn't convey an accurate response – such as sharing condolences or support in less than ideal situations.
It could also be argued that systems with only one type of reaction are more easily measured and, as a result, used as an artificial metric to compare the relative success of a post – something Instagram already dealt with by hiding the likes counter entirely.
Even with these potential benefits in mind, implementing an array of reactions that include clear 'upvote' and 'downvote' icons is rather likely to be controversial, and if Twitter does go ahead with these changes, it will become just that bit harder to differentiate the micro-blogging site from any other social media platform.