Facebook are Quietly Trying to Resurrect the Poke

The Odyssey Online
Remember poking? If you joined Facebook any time past about 2009, you probably don't. Poking was an odd, slightly whimsical way of interacting with Facebook friends that had a very short lived novelty. Initially, all you could do was 'poke', but as the feature evolved the descriptions broadened into things like throwing sheep.

They've never actually been removed from Facebook but people started losing interest in them around 2009, just as platforms like Snapchat were starting to gain ground. Back in the early days of social media, the fun, playful vibe was more or less universal, but since then many platforms have moved away from it, Facebook being one of them. Of all the platforms still chalking points on the leaderboard, Snapchat is probably the one with the most levity.

Now Facebook have brought the Poke back with a new name - 'Hello'. Instead of leaving a notification informing you that your second cousin who you met once at a wedding has 'poked' you, now you'll be told that said cousin 'said hello to you'. Somehow, for my money, that's even worse. The entire point of 'hello' is that it should be followed up with something else. Imagine right now somebody walking up to you on the street and saying 'hello', but nothing else. Sure, you'd say 'hello' back, but where do you go from there?

This seems to fall into line with Facebook's fixation on pushing you into interacting with everyone on your friends list. The most egregious example of this is the message you get whenever you accept a friend request, that awkward void of silence sitting in your inbox, commanding you to talk to this new person, regardless of how or why they ended up on your friends list. In this case, once someone has hit you with a Hello, you'll see the waving hand icon lurking on their profile until you respond.

The funny thing is, though, Hello hasn't replaced the Poke. You can still poke people if you're so inclined, Facebook have just added in a virtually identical feature and not bothered to remove the old one, as if the platform wasn't cluttered enough already. Facebook have been in the habit of releasing identical features with different names for a while, but it's difficult to understand the benefit of this one.

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