On Facebook, people often mention the death of a pet or a parent or a person who is special in your life. Unfortunately, the only way people can respond to the news is by pushing the “like” button or by making a sympathetic comment.
There’s news in the paper today that maybe Facebook will be coming out with a “condolences” button. Rather than inappropriately clicking “like” in response to bad news, you could have a “sympathize” button.
According to a story by Katie Humphrey in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Facebook engineer Dan Muriello said that the “sympathize” button would only be an option if the Facebook user incorporated a sad, frustrated or otherwise negative emoticon while writing a status update.
This makes a lot of sense. We see a number of people sharing news about death and anniversaries of deaths and mourning in online social media. The “like” button is not really an appropriate response to bad news.
In the interview that I did on the PBS New Mexico In Focus program, I said that more and more people are sharing their lives socially online and this includes bad news as well as good. (Click to see the interview online – 20 minutes into the program.)
This is an interesting development in Facebook’s evolution and in our online evolution of sharing our lives in social media. What do you think?