On Monday, Facebook rolled out a new set of alternatives to the sturdy Like button: Joining the traditional Thumbs Up (👍) emoji, users will now be able to react to a post with five additional sentiments: Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry. The emotions, represented by emoji, look like this:
These five reactions are an adequate start. But there are still so many more emoji reactions that we truly, desperately need, in order to accurately react to the bulk of what we see on Facebook.
I just scrolled through my Facebook feed, and there isn't a single post that I would not react to with the Eyeroll emoji. In fact, I would propose The Facebook Eyeroll Hypothesis: It states that the longer you scroll through your Facebook feed, the more likely your primary reaction to any given post would be rolling your eyes.
Your cousin's racist Obama meme? That guy from your freshman year college dorm posting his ten thousandth photo of the half marathon he recently completed? Your old friend from camp smoking up a huge blunt and using the hashtag #PhishLife? Only the eyeroll can properly respond to these things. Seriously, open up your Facebook app and flick down on your feed a few times. You will find your eyes rolling before you can even process what you're reading.
A close friend announces they're moving out of your city? A website publishes an op-ed about "Why Hillary Clinton Should Wear Less Makeup" or "Why Mark Cuban Would Be the Perfect Vice President?" The only proper reaction is a big pile of turds.
When a distant relative posts a screed supporting Donald Trump from TruthBomb.Info; when your good buddy updates his status with an announcement that he has scored tickets to an upcoming Dashboard Confessional concert; when a high school friend's status is, "Why is there no White History Month?"—all of these statuses merit the Thinking Face. Words fail; all you can do is rub your chin and raise your eyebrow.
The prayer hands emoji is the response we need to Facebook food porn. A large burger with thick-cut bacon; a gurgling cauldron of macaroni & cheese with a perfectly formed crust; any In & Out menu item; creamy eggs Benedict on a Sunday morning. I am confident that there are Facebook statuses that do not involve well-lit food photos that would also elicit a Prayer Hands emoji but it is lunchtime and I cannot think of any.
It is incomprehensible to me that Facebook, a social network founded as a thirst-trap for horny Harvard students, has neglected the beautiful and perfect eggplant emoji. In fact, it makes me question the judgment of Facebook's leadership. If Facebook changed its name to EggplantEmoji.com tomorrow I wouldn't blink. If Facebook removed all ability to comment on any post and replaced it with the option to insert eggplants of various sizes, the social network would be just fine.
How much of your Facebook feed makes you urgently need a glass of wine? All of it? Do you often suspect that certain friends have gotten engaged to the same person multiple times, just to spite you? Have these friends also posted wedding photos, a wedding video, a wedding video trailer, a wedding 3D experience, a wedding IMAX preview, and links to official merchandise from their wedding?
You need a glass of wine, both on Facebook and in your hand.
Did you catch one of your single friends posting on another single friend's wall? Hit 'em with a Kissing Couple Emoji and watch the angry texts roll in.
Facebook has given us, as a start, an emoji of a face shedding a single tear. But this does not go far enough. There is so much content on my Facebook feed on any given day that requires the double-eyed waterfalls.
We are living through a time whose daily events merit not just a teardrop and a polite frowny face, but raging streams of tears and a howling, agape mouth. Did you see the election results from Nevada/latest stream of tweets from Kanye West/news about diversity in literally any industry? Break out the sobbing face.
Hopefully, Facebook executives will open up full range of emoji reactions soon. Until then, we have only those six reactions, and also the infinite possibilities afforded by human language, at our disposal.