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facebook hellobutton

Say hello to Facebook’s ‘Hello’ feature

facebook hellobutton

Say hello to Facebook’s ‘Hello’ feature

Recent visitors to Facebook could be forgiven for thinking that Adele or Lionel Richie had got involved on its design, with the introduction of a ‘Hello’ button.

The button, which has an icon of a waving hand next to it, now appears as an option on any individual’s Facebook page. If you want to greet somebody but don’t have anything in particular to say to them, simply click it, and your friend will be told that you have ‘helloed’ them.

The function could be seen as a good conversation starter, a way to let somebody know you’re thinking about them or an effective tool for annoying your friends with constant ‘hellos’ all day long.

A number of articles about the new feature, however, have commented that a lot of ‘hellos’ are likely to be issued by mistake. The ‘Hello’ feature is very immediate, with no ‘are you sure you want to do this?’ when you click it. It just turns blue and the greeting has been made. You can retract your ‘hello’ by clicking it again, but if the recipient has Facebook notifications delivered to their phone, it may be too late and they will already have seen your clumsy accidental greeting – a bit like when you inadvertently make eye contact in the street with someone you didn’t really want to speak to.

This means that people with a tendency to loiter on other people’s Facebook pages, perhaps checking out their photos, personal details or recent activity, will have to be extra careful where they’re sticking their fingers or mouse cursors. One click out of line and they’ll be issuing inappropriate ‘hellos’ to confused acquaintances, or even people who don’t know them at all.

The new button also seems to have been clicked by people who meant to click something else, such as the ‘unfriend’ button.


Imagine the horror of having a friend who is annoying the life out of you with his Facebook witterings, so you go to unfollow him, only to send him a friendly ‘hello’ instead. Whoops, you’ve dropped yourself in it there, haven’t you?

I don’t see an awful lot of point in the ‘Hello’ button really. It seems like a 2017 revamp of the ‘Poke’ feature, which was synonymous with Facebook in its early days. It’s still possible to ‘poke’ other Facebook users, but you have to route around for the feature a bit more and it seems to have fallen out of social media etiquette.

Perhaps its best use is as an ice-breaker to reconnect with an old friend you’ve spotted on Facebook. After all, if you bumped into that person on the street, you’d be more likely to say ‘hello’ than to immediately ask if you could ‘add’ them as a friend!

John Murray
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