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Facebook Reactions: how to make the most of six emoji

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Facebook has finally upgraded the Like button with Reactions, an emoji-like tool that expands how we respond non-verbally to posts that don't warrant a comment, but would benefit from the least impactful acknowledgement available. Unlike familiar emoji tools for GChat, Slack, or text message apps, Reactions is limited to only four faces, one heart, and of course the original Like.

There is a precedent for emoji-lovers repurposing included icons to represent objects and feelings that aren't readily available. As an artist once said, Cela ne constitue pas une aubergine. Or in English: "This is not an eggplant."

I suspect the scarcity of Reactions available will give each icon multiple meanings and purposes. A face may say one thing — "Haha," "Wow" — but will be used to express others — "Why are you posting this Donald Trump garbage," "Why wasn't I invited to this party?"

Here's my how-to guide for making six emoji serve countless roles in your iconographic convos.

Like

Intended purpose:

General approval; liking something.

Other uses:

Reminding someone of your existence.

Saying, "Hey, I haven't read this lengthy and important report on unemployment that you've shared, but I'm aware and involved and care about this stuff, and look, I'll get around to it. Seriously. I Pocketed it."

Deciding not to feed a gladiator to the lions, but instead to give him a chance at avenging his slain wife and daughter so that he might find the peace he needs before he sheds this mortal coil.

Love

Intended purpose:

When like just isn't enough; flirting.

Other uses:

Unnerving your concerned friends by Loving every single post on your girlfriend's Facebook profile, even those published a decade before you two met.

Saying butt, because the heart icon is the closest we have until Facebook adds a peach.

Reminding a colleague that we are all just meat carriages for a tiny, fragile organ.

Haha

Intended purpose:

When something is funny.

Other uses:

Communicating that you just sipped hot soup, and your tongue is burnt.

Finding schadenfreude in the tragedy of others.

Wow

Intended purpose:

When you are shocked or impressed.

Other uses:

Threatening to swallow someone.

Expressing that something has gone very wrong and now your mouth is the same shape as your eyes.

Saying, "I'm so hungry! I'm a wittle baby! Feed me! Feed the wittle baby! Oopsie doopsie, just went poopsie!"

Sad

Intended purpose:

When you want the opposite of Like, when you are grieving, when you team lost the big game.

Other uses

Hinting that someone's eye infection should get examined, because it's producing a large, odorous discharge

Communicating that dehydration is a real problem, and drinking multiple cups of water a day might solve the poster's difficult-to-cure malaise.

Sweating on someone's post.

Angry

Intended purpose:

When you hate something, when you share a disgust for a given topic.

Other uses:

Telling someone your not pleased they sweat all over your post.

Communicating an unspeakable hatred.

Personifying the beady red pimple that has been with you since seventh grade.


Check out how Facebook decides what is trending