Facebook may not have wanted a dislike button, but they apparently did desire change. Despite the "like" symbol being somewhat of a brand symbol for Facebook, they are doing away with just the like button.
Coming soon, Facebook will be introducing "Reactions." Reactions is essentially a toolbar with a broader selection of emotions to choose from. Zuckerberg himself stressed the reasoning behind the change at an event recently:
“Not every moment is a good moment - if you share something that's sad, like a refugee crisis that touches you or a family member passes away, it may not be comfortable to like that post… I do think it's important to give people more options than liking it."
The belief is that the reactions toolset will allow users to engage more often with posts. Offering an emotion that better matches the sentiment of a message lends itself to a greater chance at an emotional connection.
Below is an example of what it will look like in the wild - more specifically, on the mobile app:
These updates align perfectly with the increase in emoji usage. Instagram recently reported on this growth with an eye-opening graph displaying the upward trend over time.
This observation immediately leaps my mind into the interesting opportunity of allowing emojis in URLs, but I will save that topic for another time.
For us marketers, the advent of Facebook Reactions gives us even more insights into user behavior. As shown below, we will now be able to track each button click, which will then be tallied into total sentiments of your messaging.
By adapting your messaging to the results you are seeing, you can better craft your posts to match your audience's behavior and expectations.
All in all, this will be an interesting change for the Facebook experience. I expect an initial backlash from users, much like any other time something that isn't broken is changed, but that storm will pass quickly. Within a few months, the Reactions UX will become second nature, and more interestingly, we'll undoubtedly see other websites following suit in some way.
Here's to many Yay's, Love's, and Wow's for you and your content!