San Francisco — If you are the kind of person who likes to send text messages using emoticons, then according to TechCrunch, Facebook just allowed a small number of its users post statuses this week that include small and colorful icons, similar to the emoticons people often use in text messages, emails and on Facebook chat, which could help the network gauge your interests in real-time.
Lately, Facebook has keenly getting into the business of emotions. In fact, when Facebook rolled out its Timeline feature, it was compelling users to share bits and pieces about their lives and to be the de facto platform for cataloging life’s milestones.
The social network has also introduced emojis into its messaging platform. The emoticons let users to share what they are feeling, reading, listening to or eating. They can also add a custom update to describe something they feel serious about or even predetermined options from Game of Thrones, enjoying ice cream or just the term “happy.”
Facebook is testing allowing users to post statuses that include emoticons. (Facebook / February 1, 2013)
More so, it appears that Facebook wants its users to share more about themselves, and to do so the company is experimenting with structured status updates that asking how we are feeling.
The company said the test feature allows users to “share how they are feeling and what they are doing more visually.” In response to discovering the test, Facebook had this to say:
“It’s just a new way for people to visually represent what they are doing and how they are feeling through their Facebook posts. It will only be available to small set of people. This is not integrated into Graph Search. It is just a small test to see if people are interested in sharing their actions in a more visual way.”
The social media giant has dubbed the new feature a “really small test” and is not revealing much about the new feature. Hence, the box “What are you doing?” allows users to select a category, such as “feeling.” You can then select another option, such as “happy” or “sad.”
So if you are feeling happy, you can choose a smiley face next to your status. Likewise, if you are reading, you can have a book. The options are in addition to your actual status update, and you can get pretty specific with what you are doing.
The company assumes that the visual status updates will help the company overshadow emoticons apps such as Line, Path and GetGlue. Also, the move could help Facebook woo more advertisers. This could also be a way for Facebook to get more information about its users and to advertisers who want to target specific demographics.
Nevertheless, Facebook is contemplating if this is attractive to users and if it garners information advertisers would pay to use. Besides, there is no word on whether this test will be expanded to all of Facebook’s users anytime soon.