Last year, YouTube enabled “timed comments” — which pop up at a specific point in a video — on some content. Clearly, users dug that feature, because YouTube is now expanding it to include emoji. Its new “timed reactions” are now available on some videos, according to a post on the YouTube Help forum.
The available reactions will include all the usual suspects, including crying laughing, heart, 100, and shocked cat face. Since this test is still in its early stages, its entirely possible for emoji to be added to or subtracted from the reaction roster as the pilot goes on.
“If you’re watching a video that is part of this experiment, you can react and see crowd reactions by opening the comment section of the video and tapping into the reaction panel,” reads the forum post, which is attributed to Meaghan from TeamYouTube. “The test will also show you which moments other viewers are reacting to (which will be anonymized – we won’t show who sent each reaction).”
As with so many innovations that get tested these days, this one resembles similar features on other social media platforms. When I think of this concept, I immediately think of SoundCloud, where timed comments and reactions are a major part of the experience. Other publications that have covered this development have likened it to the reactions found on Instagram.
There’s another wrinkle to this as well: Since YouTube hid dislikes on videos last year, some users have been clamoring for new ways to interact with creators. Timed reactions could be a good way for YouTube to fill that void, assuming they make it out of the testing phase. Right now, the feature is available on a “small number of channels to start.” Feel free to shoot us an email if you see timed reactions in the wild.
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