Do you ever feel like all someone needs is a hug? Or maybe all you need is one?
Today we released a hug button on posts! It is located below each update on MyAutismTeam. See below the orange text “hug” next to the “like” button.
When we first launched “How is your day going” updates on MyAutismTeam, we noticed a trend: parents who indicated they were having a “Good” day would generate more comments or likes than those parents who were having a “So/So” day or a “Bad” day.
We’ve all been there. You read someone’s post that leaves you speechless, but you still want to somehow show support, indicate that you “get it”, or let them know you simply feel for them. The “like” button doesn’t always cut it, and words sometimes fail you. So what is there?
Last year, a study was released by the University of Michigan suggesting that there is an empathy deficit in social media (like Facebook). This created a bit of controversy around what it means to be connected to others online. Even still, there isn’t a social media site (the biggest being Facebook) that enables everyone the ability to express empathy beyond comments or a “like” button.
A couple of weeks ago, I was having dinner with a friend of mine Andrew Mayer, who does a lot of work in the social media space specifically around casual games. I asked him for his advice around what we can do to help our users express concern or empathy toward another parent on MyAutismTeam, especially when that parent is having a rough day. I told him, “You want to express that you care, but it seems hard. If the person was there in front of you, you’d reach out to them, touch their hand for reassurance…” His immediate reaction, “Hugs. A hug button.”
That was simple enough. We talked about it internally. We already had “likes” on the site, why not try “hugs” on the site and see what everyone thought? Would anyone use it? Is that too intimate? They jury is still out, but we want to know your opinion. Do hugs help? Give hugs a try on the site and let us know. Is there something else that would be more helpful?
Written by Mary Ray, Head of Product at MyAutismTeam
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