Does Facebook Need a ‘Sympathize’ Button?
Sometimes, a “like” doesn’t really mean “like” – or it least it’s not supposed to come across like that. When you posted that your dog Roscoe died and that you were going to miss him forever, because he was such a little snugglebums – I wanted to like it. I wanted to like it because I like you, and I liked your dog, and I like the fact that we live in a world where someone can show such an unadulterated love for another creature.
But I didn’t like it, because I was afraid that you’d think I was liking the fact that your dog died. So I kept scrolling. Too bad – these awkward moments exist and there’s nothing we can do about them.
Or is there? What if there was a way to express support on Facebook without making it sound like you enjoy someone’s misery?
According to one Facebook software engineer, this could happen. Maybe, Possibly. In the future. At some point.
Speaking at a recent event, Dan Muriello said that a “sympathize” button was recently developed at a Facebook hackathon. Here’s how it worked – basically, any status that was written alongside a negative emotion (you know, the little “feeling sad” or “feeling depressed” emoticons that Facebook unveiled earlier this year) would see the “like” button replaced with a “sympathize” button,
That way, I wouldn’t have to “like” the fact that your boyfriend cheated on you but you’re dedicated to moving on. I could show support and “sympathize.”
Come to think of it, maybe a “support” button would be even better.
Although the hack was well received, you shouldn’t expect to see it pop up any time soon.
“It would be, ‘five people sympathize with this,’ instead of ‘five people ‘like’ this,'” said Muriello. “Which of course a lot of people were – and still are – very excited about. But we made a decision that it was not exactly the right time to launch that product. Yet.”
Likelihood of seeing a “sympathize” button any time soon? Not very high – but I’ll guarantee you it has a better chance than a “dislike” button. That’s never going to happen. Seriously.
Image via Thinkstock