Tired of liking other people’s pain? Sick of ignoring boastful status updates instead of giving them the dressing down you really crave? Worried that a simple ‘Like’ won’t show how much you get your furthest acquaintance’s twisted sense of humour? Well, suffer no more!
Facebook have rolled out some new ‘Reactions’ buttons – animated emojis which can display a wider range of emotions than an EL James heroine – in a limited trial. And they’ve chosen to trial them in Spain and Ireland.
Excuse me just one moment while I react to that.
Sorry. I just need another moment
Sorry. Just needed to get that out of my system.
If I were Facebook, I would not be trialling anything in Ireland. The social psychology in this country is not conducive to successfully trialling reactions to anything, unless it is some sort of ironic trial targeting circular arguments powerful enough to blow a whole in the space-time continuum.
And here is why.
1. There are no degrees of separation in Ireland
There may be only 6 degrees of separation between most people, but there is only ever 1 degree between anyone in Ireland. We are a very small, nosy country, which makes it impossible to give an honest negative reaction to anything when you know that your mother’s first cousin’s son works with the girl who just gave you rage, humblebragging about her angelic 3-year-old son’s fluency in Mandarin. This means the true implications of people using both the ‘Haha’ button (ironically) and the ‘Angry’ button (venomously) will lurk in the long grass until trialled elsewhere.
2. Facebook should know not to ask for Irish reactions to anything
Think about it.
Status Update: OMG my dog just died
Irish Reaction: No way seriously I just had a big feed of frankfurters
Status Update: Why oh why is the world such a cold, dark place?
Irish Reaction: You should probably pay your electric bill by direct debit, Bud
Status Update: Sooo happy what an amazing night!
Irish Reaction: U OK hun?
3. The Irish approach to social media is too self-deprecating for truth
In Ireland, every toddler (unless born on Dublin’s southside) is taken aside and taught that talking themselves up is an offence punishable by social death and public beatings. Children go through rigorous training programmes in the arts of The Inability To Accept Compliments; Extolling One’s Faults; and my personal favourite, Bribing Others To Occasionally Publicise Your Few Talents. This does not suit social media. We are forced to jump through so many hoops to announce good things and avoid bad things that every public pronouncement becomes a mille feuille so layered it may as well be written in hieroglyphics. Not the ideal testing ground.
4. The Irish are messers
The last thing you should ever do is let an Irish person know you’re using them as a test subject for anything. Tell an Irish person you’re testing them, and prepare for madness. No self-respecting data lover would ever make this fatal mistake.
5. Ireland is an island
They say no man is an island. Therefore no island can be representative of humanity at large. Unless you are ring-fence testing a new chocolate.
And so, may I just say to Spain: we salute you. The future of the Internet, and quite possibly world peace, depends on you. No pressure.
Side Note With A View To Reactive Inclusivity
What do you think of the new Facebook reaction buttons? Like? Dislike? Puzzled as to why there’s no confusion button? Do tell.