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It's time to abandon Like buttons and embrace reactions. Even in 2018, Twitter talked about (at least internally) removing the Like button on tweets. At the time, most were against the idea and while I admit, I was too, I've come to realize I was wrong. As it turns out, we should remove Like buttons across the web and here's why.

While 2018 has certainly come and gone, the internet is still alive and kicking. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook have grown, while still denying their responsibilities to maintain these highly scalable networks they built. So how can we make these platforms a place for more high quality engagement? As much as it pains me to admit, I think Facebook is on the right track here – sometimes smashing Like isn't an optimal response to a message.

Why should we kill the "Like" button?

This is an excellent question. Facebook's initial reasoning for implementing reaction-based emotes to status messages was because sometimes a "like" isn't representative of the emotion we want to convey to the original poster. This is absolutely true, expressing condolences shouldn't be done through a "like," but there's honestly more to it. People are expressive, we have feelings, thoughts, and opinions, simply liking a status or tweet isn't enough, especially at the stage of social media we are in at the moment. We deserve better.

Simply looking at likes alone is opaque and doesn't show the nuance behind people's feelings of why they actually hit that Like button. Wouldn't it be better to allow people to fully express themselves? Liking something is too easy--but honestly, that was the whole point originally I'd imagine. We've all see what has happened across social media over the last four years – yeah, that didn't work out well.

While killing off the Like button completely may be a good move, even strictly from a mental health perspective, I doubt these companies will be doing that. I'm not that naive. So here's what I'm proposing: offer a wider range of reactions and allow users to upload their own reactions for specific use on their own profile.

How would the new reaction system work?

I'm a fan of Discord and I think they have implemented a very interesting and unique reaction system. In fact, it's so good that I'd like for other social companies to take note of it.

When someone posts a message in the Discord server, whether it's text, an image, video, or audio clip, other users can react to that specific message using emotes from that specific Discord server or even from other server's they are apart of. Here's how it looks:

The reactions can even be animated. The one shown above featuring Tom DeLonge saying "WTF" is actually animated. How cool is that?

Not only do people get to be more expressive, but you get a real feel for how people feel about what you shared instead of just seeing a Like count. It's more fun too.

As much as I'd love for everyone to be able to react using their own emotes, that would be very chaotic and not nearly as helpful. I think platforms like Twitter and Facebook should implement a base set of reactions and then allow users to curate a set amount of their own for use specifically on their own profile and on their own content.

It would also be great to see who reacted with what emote. On Discord, you can view the reactions and see who reacted which way. You can currently do this on Facebook too (with their limited reactions).

What are the other benefits?

Well, aside from being able to express yourself more freely, creators, brands, and individuals will have a way to further curate and customize the way people can interact with them. I could see this being huge, especially for creators and brands. It also gives people a window into other people's minds and feelings, instead of just seeing a straight like count which could be helpful when it comes to stopping the spread of disinformation.

What do you think? Let's open up a discussion.


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