Facebook "Pokes" have long been a source of mystery to me, but they faded from memory when people stopped "Poking" me. I thought the "Poke" had finally run its course and people got bored of whatever it was. It seems though, that the "Poke" is back with a vengeance. I was taken by surprise when I had almost a dozen "Pokes" waiting for me yesterday morning when I logged into Facebook.
I decided to dig into the "Poke" and figure out what exactly it was. I visited the "Poke" page https://facebook.com/pokes where I saw a full list of people who "Poked" me, and a list of "Suggested Pokes", which just sounds wrong. You can also see how many times in a row each person has "Poked" you.
"Pokes" are only visible between the poke-er and poke-ee, they do not show up on your timeline.
This excerpt from Facebook's FAQ in 2007 explains the company's stance on the "Poke":
"When we created the poke, we thought it would be cool to have a feature without any specific purpose. People interpret the poke in many different ways, and we encourage you to come up with your own meanings."
After digging through 12 years of content about pokes, going back to 2004, I've summarized people's interpretation of the "Poke" below.
- a creepy flirting tool
- a polite way of saying hello
- a reminder you are waiting for a reply
- let someone know you are thinking of them
- a bad substitute for an unwelcome pickup line
- a double entendre
Buzzfeed has a humorous take on the "Poke" that is worth checking out. It is a list of 21 different types of "Pokes", complete with animated gif's for each one. Read it here.
Whatever the "Poke" is, I think it is a waste of time. Anything I would try to convey with a "Poke" is better communicated using words.
How about you? Do you still use the "Poke"? Do you like getting "Poked"? Let me know in the comments below.
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