New Coke or iPhone? Sarah Frier and Bloomberg go behind the scenes of Facebook Reactions – along with a look at Chief Product Officer Chris Cox’s trajectory inside the social networking company. I liked this bit about getting teams to think about users still stuck on older networks and slower mobile data:
Near the end of the meeting, he wonders aloud how to get other Facebook employees to start thinking about the particular challenge of building features that will work on yesterday’s mobile networks, still in use around the world. Someone proposes switching everyone at the company to a 2G connection once a week. Cox loves the idea. “This is our tool for empathy,” he says. “Happy Wednesday, you’re in Delhi!” Two weeks later, the company implements 2G Tuesdays.
And the initial doubts about the Like button when it first came out:
[C]olleagues have war stories about how hard they had to work to get Zuckerberg on board. According to longtime executive Andrew Bosworth, there were so many questions about the button—should likes be public or private? would they decrease the number of comments on stories?—many thought the feature was doomed. Even its champions had no idea of the impact it would have on the company’s fortunes. It was simply meant to make interactions easier—just click like on someone’s post about their new job, instead of being the 15th person to say congratulations.
And how they arrived at the six Reactions:
Facebook researchers started the project by compiling the most frequent responses people had to posts: “haha,” “LOL,” and “omg so funny” all went in the laughter category, for instance. Emojis with eyes that transformed into hearts, GIF animations with hearts beating out of chests, and “luv u” went in the love category. Then they boiled those categories into six common responses, which Facebook calls Reactions: angry, sad, wow, haha, yay, and love.
“We know on phones people don’t like to use keyboards, and we also know that the like button does not always let you say what you want.”