Instagram’s 😂 🔥 🎉 Reaction Buttons Are a Scourge
Research shows that a modicum of extra effort in online conversations goes a long way
When Instagram introduced the option to “heart” direct messages in 2015, my personal experience of the platform began its slow, steady descent into hell.
This nosedive accelerated in 2018 when Instagram introduced Quick Reactions to its Stories. Quick Reactions allow audiences to, yes, quickly react with one of eight emoji, including a clapping emoji, a fire emoji, and a crying emoji. These reactions show up in the direct messages folder, alongside actual thoughtful and considered responses to someone’s Story. Facebook introduced Messenger reactions in 2017, while Twitter released a similar feature for its direct messages at the beginning of 2020.
In theory, these private message likes and story reactions should expedite conversations and create clarity, not further confusion. But Quick Reactions are actually a scourge. They say next to nothing, and they’re confusing: If I send someone a DM and they don’t double-tap it, does this mean they hate me? One friend, confirming my paranoia, told me that if she doesn’t double-tap a message, it means she disagrees or doesn’t like it. Still, since this isn’t necessarily a widespread application of the feature, I have to guess who’s giving me the cold shoulder when they don’t heart my message.
Research shows that a modicum of extra effort in online conversations goes a long way. We should be putting more effort into our conversations, not less, particularly when it isn’t that difficult to manually select and send an emoji or two, instead. Sending an emoji requires choosing one out of thousands of options and sending it, rather than quickly “reacting” from, at most, eight total choices. It’s a small difference but, in my mind, a significant one.
Why You Can’t Look Away From TikTok
Experts weigh in on the app’s killer algorithm and more
Philip Mai, a researcher at the Ryerson University Social Media Lab in Toronto, says social media…