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4 Reasons People Poke – Why did you Poke Me?

September 5, 2011 @ 9:04 am
posted by Michelle Fontaine


Definition of Poke from Wikipedia

The poke feature is intended to be a poke gesture (similar to “nudge” in instant messaging) to attract the attention of another user. Many Facebook users use this feature to attract attention or say “hello” to their friends.  A previous version of Facebook’s FAQ gave additional insight into the origin of the feature, stating: “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.”

There are several applications on Facebook which extend the idea of the poke feature by allowing users to perform other actions to their friends—such as “kick” or “wave to”. People often reciprocate pokes back and forth until one side gives up, an event known as a “Poke War”.

When Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, was asked why he added the Poke button, which seems to have no useful purpose,  he said ‘because I could’ and admitted there really is no purpose. If you recall, Facebook started out as a college communication tool, first at Harvard where he was a sophomore, then to additional colleges, one at a time. The Poke button could then be thought of as a flirting device. As Facebook exploded, however, people now use it for additional reasons.

1. I’m thinking of you, I’m still here.

Just a quick hello. Hope to put a smile on your face. Just as a dog will seek us out and lick our legs just once to get us to look down at them to see their wagging tail, a poke is that lick, that touch. Socially, it’s connectedness with no need for conversation.

2. I like you.

Taking the time to go to a person’s wall to poke them does indicate a gesture of camaraderie, of liking a person. If you did want to flirt with someone, poking works to open that conversation perhaps as a wink would.

3. The mystery of it.

Gets the other person thinking, ‘hum’…. why is he/she poking me?

4. Tag, you’re it – it’s a Poke War!

If you want to play, you Poke back. If you don’t want to play you don’t. If it annoys you, you can remove the ability for the person to Poke you. BUT if you Poke back, then you’ve thrown the ball back into their court. Personally I find it a bit fun to Poke friends and then wait until they Poke me back so I have a whole list of people to Poke. Silly for sure but it makes me feel good ;)

Pokes Await

Pokes Await

There’s even a Facebook Page created with over 300,000 fans called The Official Rules of Poking. The totally silly, for fun only, rules stated on this page are thus:


RULE 1: To officially initiate a poke war you poke your opponent on Facebook.
OPTIONAL: Post something on their wall regarding the starting of a poke war. You can post how you are going to win and they are going to lose, and be sure to change the wording as you please.

RULE 2: Once the opponent pokes back, continue to poke them non-stop whenever possible.
OPTIONAL: Turn on the setting to get the pokes sent to your phone via text message, so you have an advantage over your opponent.
To do this, go to ACCOUNT on the top right corner of your Facebook window. From account, click on ACCOUNT SETTINGS. From account settings, click on MOBILE and enable Facebook Mobile. Once Facebook Mobile is enabled, go to Notifications and enable SMS notifications for pokes by clicking on the box.

If you are going somewhere without computer access for a certain period of time, this must be stated in one way or another to your opponent(s). You need to include the day you are leaving, and the day you are returning and that you will be able to fully resume the poke war from where it was left off.

RULE 4: If it is over 48 hours and you haven’t received a poke back (unless your opponent has Rule 3′d), you officially have won a Facebook poke war. Now, time to use your bragging rights.

So, to all the friends that I poke and to those who poke me…..TAG….you’re it ;)

Yes, I realize this is not an important blog post. It’s actually a silly one as Poking accomplishes little……still… never knows where a Poke could lead!

Michelle Fontaine, your FBSmarty
Facebook and Web for Business
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