Spilling the Tea… Revolutionary Reactions?

Long gone are the simple days of being able to just “like” someone’s status. When you log onto any social networking site, you’re presented the opportunity to “love,” “share,” “wow,” or “super like” something. (Side note, don’t ask me what the difference between “liking” and “super liking” something, or someone is, because quite frankly, I don’t know.) These phrases are commonly referred to as “reactions,” which are supposed to describe how you respond to something you see online.

Emily Dreyfuss wrote an article for Wired back in 2016 upon the initial release of Facebook reactions. The article is titled “Linguists not Exactly Wow about Facebook’s New Reactions,” and you can check it out by clicking this link here!

She discussed Facebook’s six new reactions, which are: love, sad, angry, wow, and haha. Emily’s article was fascinating because she talked to linguists to get their opinion on these new cues for interacting with others.

So, here’s the tea for today… The linguist community high-key hates these reactions.

Now I know what you’re thinking, there’s a linguist community!?!

But actually, one linguist named Geoff Pullum said that “it looks like syntax is being thrown out the window here and being replaced by grunts like animals would make.” Fellow linguist Susan Herring explained how she viewed it as a “non-speech sound” and how they didn’t make any sense out of context.

face reactions the oatmeal

Before reading this article, I didn’t think that using the Facebook reactions where that big of a deal, but I understand now why they are so strange out of context. Emily did talk about how most people do not think about the syntax and meaning behind these buttons while watching a video of a cute dog or funny baby, but it is valuable to realize what you are clicking on. The six options are reducing you to just six possible emotions, and you might not fall into one of those categories. Check out this image posted by The Oatmeal right over here. Even though it’s pretty inappropriate (Sorry Daena) I think it gets the point across that there should be more than just six options…but maybe they shouldn’t be what The Oatmeal suggested.

Even though there isn’t a solution provided in this article, I think it is a useful exercise to take an extra second to think about which button you click on before interacting with a post. Do you really feel love or sad when you see a Facebook update? Or is that just the closest depiction of how you feel? Or is it how you want others to think that’s how you feel?

Let’s chat about it!

Until next time, Sarah (aka A College Girl)