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Pokes are back, and so is the nostalgia of a magical time when Facebook was new and fresh, and not the scourge of democracy, eating up the data of 3 billion unwitting tributaries across the population diaspora of the planet.

Back on early Facebook, when the site looked like this:

Facebook poke

Poking people was a prominent feature. You can see the “Poke him!” option beneath the profile image here.

What’s a poke? Well, nothing. You poke a person, they poke you back. It’s like the least interactive interaction you can have, but it was also a fun way to maybe flirt, let somebody know you’re thinking of them, etc.

But then, the era of the poke faded.

People got annoyed with the random “Jeff poked you” notifications, and in 2011, Facebook relegated the poke option to the wastelands of your deep settings, where no one could find it. Or no one could be bothered looking for it either way.

To be clear, the poke never went away completely, but it was essentially shuffled to the back of the class and told to face the virtual wall in shame.

Then in 2017, Facebook tried to make pokes a thing again, by adding them to profile pages, right at the top:

Facebook poke

But no one cared, and Pokes were quickly relegated once again, abandoned to a destiny of becoming a virtual footnote, alongside Pogs and fidget spinners and NFTs, and other one-time trends.

But maybe, that’s not the end of the story for the once celebrated pointy-finger.

Yes, pokes are back once again, this time because Facebook decided to make them more prominent, by adding them to search results for people you know in the app.  

Facebook poke

And people are poking on Facebook once again, which may bring back a slight glimmer of what once was, while new Facebook users will now also get to experience the pain of an unreciprocated poke.

Will it last? No. Not at all. People will lose interest once again, likely very soon.

But as a brief note of nostalgia, and a monument to the impermanency of web trends, it’s worth commemorating the return of a uniquely Facebook element.

So, go poke some people, see what happens.

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