iwsg: insecurity over the facebook reactions

Hi! It’s my insecure writer’s support group day 🙂 If you’re a writer (or just a human) with insecurities, check out the iwsg main page!Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeOkay it’s old news now, but the new facebook “reactions” are kind of cute. I do wish they’d included disagree type reaction… Maybe not a “dislike” but come on, an “eye-roll” at least?

I get it though, there’s enough bullying online without a way to casually, effortlessly, and even guiltless-ly (I know, not a word ) spread negativity. It would hurt people, and empower internet jerks. Although some assholes will find a way to use anything sarcastically or rudely. (“sad” on a selfie? “haha” on a plea for help?) Ugh.

Still, the new reaction options have a lot of benefits. Now you can hit “sad” instead of “like” on a post about someone’s gofundme or their dog dying. When someone posts about finding their spouse has been cheating, you can indicate your displeasure with “angry,” you don’t have to “like” it.

Although it might mean less talking on facebook. Before, if I wanted to offer my sympathy on a sad post, and of course I didn’t want to “like” it, I’d comment. Now I can just click “sad” and move on.facebook reactions.jpg

Overall, I think the new reactions are a great improvement. But here’s the thing: I’m not sure any “reaction” option is a good idea.

I’m on a few social media sites and internet forums. Most have some kind of reaction based system when you can “like” or “upvote” or “+1” or whatever. And to me, the insecure basket case that I am, these are all trouble. Reactions give me so much online stress, to be honest.

But I don’t know if its just me. Am I holding people to ideals that are weird or unreasonable?

For instance: I think that if you start a thread in a forum, or publish a post, and people choose to reply to you, you should “like” (or respond somehow, via comment or “reaction”) their reply. They took time out of their day to type up a few words of encouragement, or to share a personal thought, opinion, or story. How do you just ignore that? But people do. It makes me not want to interact with those people. Seriously how hard is it to click “like”???


Or: You know the person who tries to “send a message” by liking everyone’s comments except the one written by the dude he’s currently in a beef with? So messy. It makes me realize the person is petty, and worry that someday I will be the one in the doghouse, having my well-intentioned contributions ignored.

Again: stress.

If you ask me, the best places have no reactions at all. Because those places have interactions instead. If a topic or a post is important to you, truly worthy of a reply, you’ll respond in writing. Without the option to just click “like,” you’re forced to…actually respond to the post. And you’re less likely to be rude if you have to publicly “talk” and not just click a button. (hopefully!)

Also, reactions can easily be misinterpreted. But a comment is usually clear, or can be responded to appropriately. If someone says something rude in a comment, I can decide to engage them, unfriend or block them, or just ignore their words. When someone clicks a reaction, I’m full of assumptions and doubt: did they click ‘like’ because they’re happy? Was that an ironic ‘like’? (I told you I’m a basket case!!)

Anyway I think it’s a lot less stress, overall, when there are no reaction options. Who’s with me? Am I the only wimp who is too sensitive to interact online?

6 thoughts on “iwsg: insecurity over the facebook reactions

  1. I’m just getting used to the reaction options and am not too “up” on using them yet, but I hear what you are saying and think you have a point. I also choose to not take any of the “liking” or not thing to heart. It is meant to be short and sweet, which means we’re still communicating just not in “letter writing” form. Great post and very appropriate for this day and age… http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

  2. It bothers me more on facebook than on places like Scrib. It’s probably because I tend to share more personal things on Scrib, and sometimes I really hope I’ll get a meaningful response back. But I guess people don’t always know what to say. Most people are socially awkward at times, or full of doubts and anxieties about what’s the right thing to do. So clicking a button can feel like a less stressful option, I suppose. Pretty much everything about facebook stresses me out though. The whole format, and the way it prioritises certain things, and de-prioritises others (like external links to my work, for example), just seems designed to get people down.

    • What I love about scrib are the reaction choices are so much more appropriate to a conversation (educational, interesting, insightful, funny) and I get that those wouldn’t make sense on a place like Facebook but I do still kind of wish for them there!
      I totally agree about the different moods of places. Facebook is very much like a schoolyard in a lot of ways.
      Dangerous 😉

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