Facebook is making conversations within Messenger more dynamic and interactive. Starting today, you’ll be able to post a reaction to specific messages and receive notifications when someone mentions you in a chat. These features will also be available for teams using Facebook’s Workplace Work Chat service.
More than 300 billion reactions have been shared in the year since the social media company introduced them to the world. The idea was to provide users with additional ways to express themselves beyond liking something, as “liking” certain posts can feel awkward. Facebook must have felt adoption was strong enough to warrant extending it to Messenger.
To add a reaction, press and hold on any message and select the emoticon that expresses how you feel (e.g. love, wow, sad, and so on). You can see how others in the conversation have reacted, as Facebook will denote this in the lower corner of the message. When someone reacts to your message, you’ll see a small animation. And when someone reacts after you’ve stopped using Messenger, a notification will appear to tell you did it.
While the feature does work in one-on-one conversations, reactions are perhaps more suitable for group chats, because they’ll help organize the discussion in a more meaningful way. The approach is similar to what Slack has done with emojis and what you get in iMessage with expressive effects. Yes, you could avoid using reactions and just insert emojis into conversations, but when you have complex discussions going on, order is the name of the game.
As Facebook Messenger seeks to become an ever-more pivotal part of the way we communicate, inserting reactions makes sense, especially when interacting with brands, bots, or large groups. It’s important to note that reactions are only available within messages, not within stories produced for Messenger Day.
And speaking of group chats, Messenger is now supporting notifications for @mentions. This means that in a conversation, if you @mention someone, the message will be highlighted for everyone in the group to see, and that person will receive a direct notification about it. This eliminates the need to cycle through potentially verbose conversations to find out if anything was addressed to you.
You will only be able to @mention people in the existing conversation. This means if I’m having a Messenger chat with my colleague Jordan Novet, mentioning our editor in chief, Blaise Zerega, won’t do anything because he’s not part of the larger conversation.
Both reactions and mentions will also be available in Workplace, the company’s Slack and Microsoft Teams competitor, via Work Chat.
The new features are rolling out today and will be available worldwide in “the coming days.”