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Facebook Messenger's 'Your Emoji' status tells friends what's up

Facebook Messenger's 'Your Emoji' status tells friends what's up
From TechCrunch - February 7, 2018

Want to let friends know youre trying to party, hit the gym, focus on work or grab a drink? Thats the idea behind a powerful new feature Facebook Messenger is testing called Your Emoji. Akin to offline meetup app Down to Lunch, it lets you overlay a chosen emoji on your Messenger profile pic for 24 hours as a way to spur conversation and hang outs, or just let people know what youre up to without a dramatic post or Story. Its a bit like AOL Instant Messengers old away messages.

WhatsApp blog WABetaInfo shared a screenshot of the test with Matt Navarra. Now a Messenger spokesperson has confirmed this test and how it works to TechCrunch:

Were testing the ability for people to add an emoji to their profile photo in Messenger to let their friends know what theyre up to or how theyre feeling in the moment. Were interested to see if people enjoy this feature, but we dont have any additional information to share at this time.

For now, users will only see peoples emoji in the Active tab on Messenger, which is also where users in the test group can change their emoji as often as theyd like. But if the test proves popular, Messenger could potentially expand Your Emoji to appear in the inbox and message threads where it would be much more visible.

Theres a ton of potential for emergent behavior here. Users could make up their own inside jokes and secret meanings to certain emoji. A red circle could mean dont talk to me. A GPS dot-style blue diamond could mean youre out on the town. Or a moon emoji could signal an after party is going down later.

A chance to cure loneliness

Messenger is perhaps the best-poised app to make an offline meetup tool, with Snapchat being a runner-up. I wrote about the opportunity in my 2016 articleThe quest to cure loneliness,and I even helped build a failed app called Signal with the same purpose. People often spend leisure time alone because they arent sure which of their friends are free to meet up in person, but asking people directly or broadcasting anyone want to hang out tonight? can make you feel desperate and uncool.

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