Prepare Yourself: Reactions are Here

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A few months ago, we speculated about Mark Zuckerberg's announcement that Facebook would soon have another option, instead of just a "like." Many wondered if it would be a "dislike" button. The results are finally in: Facebook recently debuted a new feature - reactions. These new buttons include Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry. Will these reactions do great things for your digital advocacy campaign? Or will they just give you another headache?

One of the best things about these new buttons is that they are just that - buttons. Whether you tap "like" or "wow," these one-click reactions are simpler - and faster - than typing a comment. This increased ease of use may result in considerable spikes in engagement!

For all those data nerds out there, this new feature feels like an early Christmas present. Instead of tallying likes and comments, you now have five more engagements to measure. And these engagements allow far more nuanced responses. Do your advocates like or love your post? Did they actually find your last meme funny enough to warrant a "haha"? Before, people may have felt uncomfortable "liking" an emotional story of someone in need. Now, they can comment with "sad" to show empathy.

Despite the excitement, these new reactions present challenges. In addition to the usual learning curve that comes with any new feature, these reactions could generate negativity. In a world where we advocate for specific policies and legislation, if someone wants to express their frustration, clicking "angry" makes it easy - maybe too easy.

Will you give these new reactions a "love"? Or will you click "sad"? Share your thoughts in the comments. To learn more about other Facebook features, check out the Digital Advocacy Institute.