Following a recent announced that it’s testing out Spaces, a live audio function, Twitter is now testing a new feature that allows users to use emojis to respond to conversations.
Twitter’s chief design officer previously alluded to the company’s intentions to introduce an emoji response scheme close to rivals Facebook and LinkedIn. If you recall the controversy that exploded when Twitter replaced stars with hearts (likes instead of favorites), you know that Twitter’s user base has strong feelings on how it wants to connect with Tweets. Now, Twitter is proposing yet another drastic shift in this area, which could cause even more upheaval. Throughout March, the company polled users to see how they feel about a wider range of emoji-style responses, close to what you’d see on Facebook. According to a Twitter spokesperson, the company is “exploring additional ways for people to express themselves in conversations happening on Twitter.”
The heart (like), smiling face with tears (funny), thinking face (interesting), and crying face are all included in Twitter’s survey (sad). The company suggested some variations on this basic package, such as expressing “awesome” with either the shocked face or fire emoji, or expressing “support” with either the embrace emoji or raised hands. Twitter is also considering allowing users to show whether they like or dislike a tweet by using a thumbs up or thumbs down, a “100” in green or red to indicate “agree” or “disagree,” or a green up arrow icon or a red down arrow icon, similar to Reddit’s upvote and downvote systems.
The survey questions indicated that Twitter is conscious of the difficulties associated with implementing emoji reactions that could indicate negative feelings. It asked respondents if they would use a downvote or hate reaction, such as if they would use it instead of replying to a tweet, or whether they would downvote irrelevant or offensive tweets as well. Twitter also inquired about how users would react if their own Tweets were downvoted, and if this would deter them from tweeting in the future, or whether they would see it as “constructive” feedback on their material.
Twitter recognizes that the implementation of reaction sets could have a huge effect on how people communicate with Twitter content, and that it could also lead to a decline in Twitter use if people were excessively worried with their Tweets being downvoted. However, the upvote and downvote method — whether in the form of thumbs, arrows, or anything else — is still a popular way to communicate with content on the internet. This includes, among other things, Reddit and other forum pages, as well as YouTube, Imgur, and Pandora, to name a few.
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