Yay! We’re finally getting a dislike button on Facebook.
Or something like that. Mark Zuckerberg (founder and CEO, for anyone who hasn’t used the Internet in the last decade) said on Tuesday, “[W]e are working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it.”
However, it’s a trickier challenge than it seems. As Zuckerberg continued, “We don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts. … You don’t want to go through the process of sharing some moment that was important to you in your day and have someone ‘downvote’ it.”
Instead, the idea is to find a quick way for people to “express empathy.” While it’s great that Facebook is responding to the expressed desires of its users, I’m not sure “dislike” is the button we actually want. Here are 11 other buttons that might actually be much more useful. (Got other ideas? Let me know.)
This is probably the button people really want--a neutral way to communicate quickly that you’ve seen a post. It’d be especially useful for those moments when you don’t have enough information to know how to feel, for example: “Last day at XYZ Corp.” or “Just finalized my divorce.”
For those who can’t help but stir up trouble, how much time would you get back in your life if you could troll others on Facebook by simply clicking a button?
Second cousin to “acknowledged.” This would be useful for indicating that you have in fact seen a post, but that it stirs no emotion in you whatsoever.
4. My condolences
Here’s what we really need more than “dislike,” in order to express empathy on bad occasions. If someone posts that a loved one has died, do you really want to “dislike” their post?
This would come in handy when reacting to posts that seem intended to induce envy and make their lives seem better than they actually are. “Sitting on the back porch of our beach house with our well-behaved children and no obvious source of income.”
Not too far afield from “Skeptical, this would be a one-click way to call people out on boasting that is described as complaints. “So tired after giving my well-received TED talk, flying back in first class on the redeye to be there in time for my child’s recital.”
A useful indication that a Facebook friend has shared a highly personal post that makes you uncomfortable--for example a high school classmate who describes his or her journey to overcoming constipation in a series of granular posts.
8. Do I know you?
Similar to TMI, but with the added distinction that you barely remember meeting the supposed “friend.” Think of a person you met briefly at a networking event back in 2011 who is now posting about their fertility issues in great detail.
Think of when you see someone posting something they will very likely regret, but you don’t actually want to get into anything with them. This would be especially useful when seeing friends’ alcohol (or other substance)-infused posts between the hours of say, 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekend nights. #drunkwisdom
Useful for tagging Facebook friends’ posts that spread the word about things that have already been thoroughly debunked. If you have Facebook friends posting about how the U.S. Army is planning to take over Texas, for example, this would likely be useful.
11. People like you are why America is going to hell
Reserved for highly political posts that you disagree with. This one will likely come in handy over the next 14 months.