Some time ago, my other half discovered the existence of Facebook pokes. About time right? We started ‘poking’ each other intermittently for some days (even though we meet every day) and it was fun.
Around a week ago, we started ‘poking’ each other from one room to another. Our virtual poke war was hilarious in that we’d poke each other when one of us would disappear in the bathroom for a minute, or even be lost in a book. That was really cute, as each time we did that, it was like we were missing and thinking of each other, even though we were in the same house, just because we were apart.
Last weekend, we ‘poked’ each other while we were sitting next to each other in the same bed. And that, to be honest, was kind of puzzling.
What, in reality, is a Facebook poke?
When the ‘poke’ software feature was added to the social network, it did not have a particular purpose. It was similar to ‘nudge’ instant messaging (also present in online chat), however it could have different interpretations depending on the perception of the user.
During a live interview, Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg in fact stated that ‘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.’
A ‘poke’ can be interpreted as a sign that someone is asking for your attention. It could mean that s/he is thinking about you, fancies you, or perhaps is just bored and wants to chat. In America, there was even the idea that whoever poked you wanted to flirt and that a poke might lead to something more – this was due to the fact that the word poke is used as a slang term to denote having sexual relations in the US.
Then, there is the so-called poke war. A poke war is when someone pokes you on Facebook, after which you poke them back, then the original poker pokes you back, and so on. Poke wars, like pokes, can have a specific meaning (like flirting), or have no meaning whatsoever. Of course, when one participant finally gives up, the winner has all the liberty of gloating and bragging about it to everyone and sundry … “How childish!” I hear you say, but isn’t that human nature? He he.
Would you be surprised to know that there is also a cheat software which one can download and use in order to win a poke war? All you need to do is install a simple extension or script, that will auto poke every time a user pokes you.
Is poking others fun? It might be, however it might also be seen as a semi-pathetic attempt at actually having some form of human contact, much like online chatting in a sense, but in a vaguer and less defined way. In the end, nothing can beat face-to-face interaction, and no relationship, be it friendship or something more, can be based on undefined expressions of interest. So, poke all you like, but be sure that the extent of your communication and actual interaction with the other person does not take on the ambiguity and cryptic expression of a poke, as well.