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“Like” is probably the most abused word in the English language.

And on Facebook, the word takes on a whole spectrum of meaning from casually approving a shared news story to being totally enthusiastic about a friend’s game-winning soccer goal or marriage proposal over the weekend. So what if you want a bit of granularity?

Threadsy, which puts e-mail and social network updates together in one stream, just launched a feature that allows you to “dislike” or “love” Facebook status updates.

They’re easter egg features in the new version of Threadsy that users have to figure out how to unlock. (Clues are here.) It’s a variation on a feature they experimented with last year — the ability to “abhor” lame status updates. (See example below). After testing it out, the company found that people actually wanted a “dislike” option rather than an “abhor” one.

Even though it was meant as a joke, “people generally thought that ‘abhor’ was too strong,” explained Scott Kendall, who leads product at Threadsy. “However, we’ll consider adding ‘abhor’ and potentially other emotions in the future.  Abhor actually completes the emotional spectrum nicely: like is to dislike as love is to abhor.”

So far, people are more affectionate than nasty. Users are “loving” updates more than they are “disliking” them.

Facebook adopted a “like” feature last year as a lightweight way of letting people interact with others on the social network. It’s a data goldmine for the company — “likes” increase user engagement, because it’s easier to get people to click a “like” button than write out a comment.

It also gives Facebook vital information about how strong relationships are between different people. If you “like” or comment on another person’s status updates frequently, they’re more likely to appear in your news feed.


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