Ben Borgers

Heart Reacts

March 11, 2022

Heart reacts have got to be one of the best inventions in modern text-based communication.

By that, I mean the ability on any platform (iMessage, Messenger, Instagram, Discord, and scores of others) to react to a message with a heart:

I love heart reacts. They’re a way of expressing a feeling that’s hard to express in any other way:

Thank you / I acknowledge this / I appreciate this / Sounds good

It’s essentially an equivalent to giving a 👍 reaction to a text. But for Gen Z, reacting with thumbs-up is passive aggressive or downright rude (I’m not here to argue the merits of this interpretation, but for the record, I side heavily with my generation).

But the heart react is different. It gives off a connotation of love and appreciation, in addition to the thumbs-up’s useful “I have seen this but do not have an additional reply” meaning. It’s everything the thumbs-up wants to be, without being passive aggressive.

When I heart react to something, I want to show that I’ve seen it and am in agreement with it or appreciate the effort the other person has put in.

But I don’t want to continue the conversation, since it’s probably come to a natural stopping point. And replying “sounds good!” to a text that already says something like “sounds good!” would be a bit weird.

So I heart react instead. It’s a wonderful addition to the tools of human conversation. A neat and cheerful cherry on top of any conversation that’s come to its natural close.