As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, Face­book replaced their like but­ton with Reac­tions, a set of 6 emo­jis that allow users to more flex­i­bil­i­ty in how they react to posts their friends share.

You’re prob­a­bly famil­iar with the icons, so I won’t go into what each of them are. What I do want to touch on is how 2 of the emo­jis seem to be more com­plex than they appear on the sur­face.

Love

I’ve noticed peo­ple using the love emo­ji in one of two ways. Most pop­u­lar is the idea that it rep­re­sents some­thing greater than a like. If you post awe­some con­tent and some­one gives you a love reac­tion, they’re telling you that they find more val­ue in that post than a tra­di­tion­al like por­trays.

The sec­ond way I’ve noticed peo­ple using this emo­ji is when a friend posts con­tent that is heart­break­ing or dis­ap­point­ing. They give them a love reac­tion to show them that they care, that they’re think­ing of them and empathiz­ing with them.

Which sort of leads us to the sec­ond emo­ji I want­ed to men­tion.

Sad

This emo­ji peo­ple use sim­i­lar­ly to the sec­ond vari­a­tion of the love emo­ji: to show sol­i­dar­i­ty with the poster who shared some­thing dis­ap­point­ing or — well — sad.

The oth­er way is as a de fac­to dis­like but­ton. Peo­ple have been peti­tion­ing Face­book for a dis­like but­ton for years. When they released the Reac­tions, they pur­pose­ful­ly left out a dis­like but­ton because they want­ed to avoid polar­iz­ing Face­book users on shared posts. But if you pro­vide an emo­ji with a neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion, users will use it in oppo­si­tion to pos­i­tive emo­jis (like the like but­ton).

On that note, peo­ple almost exclu­sive­ly use the angry emo­ji when they real­ly, real­ly, real­ly dis­like some­thing.

Have you noticed inter­est­ing usage of the emo­jis? Let me know in the com­ments below.

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

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