Happy Face, sad face: Facebook test out emoticons for status updates
Facebook has begun testing the use of fancy emoticons in status updates on their site. The new development which was originally adopted by the old Myspace allows users to pick symbols to indicate what they’re doing.
On this front, Facebook is playing catch-up as Google+ already supports animated emoticons on their mobile app and Path allows users to ‘smile’ at each other’s posts. So has Facebook come a little late to the party?
The new options include glasses to show someone is watching films or an event, headphones to indicate that they’re listening to music and a fork a knife to inform people when they are eating. As well as emoticons, users can choose from a list of options- such as Watching: ‘Harry Potter’, Feeling: ‘excited’ or can just enter their own text and thus spice up their status messages.
The social networking giant has kept tight-lipped about the feature but has said:
“The new development is an opportunity for people to visually represent what they’re doing and how they’re feeling through their Facebook posts.”
Before Facebook users get too excited, the new feature is only available to a handful of people during this initial testing phase. If these users report that they enjoy sharing their actions in a more visual way, the rest of us could be free to pepper our statuses with a variety of fancy emoticons.
Some critics claim that if the new development does become permanent the information could potentially be used to target people with adverts and therefore turning Facebook into a goldmine.
Advertisers would be able to know users’ likes and dislikes at a much deeper level. For example, if a user put a status about a particular album they’re listening to, it will become easier for advertisers to target them for ads regarding that type of music, particular concerts and promotions.
Facebook could potentially integrate this new status sharing method with Graph Search to load the new search method with additional information. The new status emoticons are being tested on both the web and mobile applications.