One of Facebook’s oldest features is set to be expanded and given a more prominent place on the site.
‘Poke’ is one of those Marmite features – users will either love it or loathe it. It is a feature that acts as a causal greeting option, giving users the chance to interact with friends who they may not have the time or confidence to send a message, or for those who don’t really know what to say but want to let their friend they are there.
The poke feature is one of the oldest of the network, having been introduced when the site was still called “TheFacebook”. Its meaning and purpose were never really defined, with developers leaving that for users to decide. The company liked the idea of a feature without a specific purpose.
This led to some users interpreting it as a means of flirting, with others seeing it as more of a joke and a game, with the concept of ‘poke wars’ being created, and some even thinking of it as just plain harassment. Now, after a rather stagnant period, it seems as though the company is looking to give it another go.
Now, the feature will get a more visible spot on the mobile app. It is set to be placed on the top of the user’s profile, right underneath their profile picture and name, and next to the ‘send a message’ option.
This will give users scope to accidentally send a poke to someone, which is something that may strike fears into some users’ eyes, especially if they accidentally poke someone they’ve never met or someone they no longer speak to.
In recent times, the button has been hidden away in the menu options, and even got changed to a ‘Hello’ button in recent times. Facebook is now considering a range of new options for the button, which will either excite users, or make them cringe.
It is currently testing our a new series of jovial greetings, including the ‘hello’ button, but also incorporating some new greetings, such as hug, wink and high five. These will appear as big colourful buttons towards the top of the page. It will work in a similar way to the reaction buttons, with a user pressing and holding the button to be presented with the full list of options.
The idea behind the revival of poke and the introduction of other greetings is to encourage users to interact with their friends more, beyond sending a direct message, posting to their timeline or mentioning them in a comment.
The greetings options are currently in the testing phase and are being experimented with users from the UK, Australia, Colombia, Canada, France and Thailand. This will help Facebook to decide whether the rest of the world is ready for the revival of the Facebook poke.