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A Facebook Thanksgiving?
Social media site joins digital offering to express gratitude
Say Thanks
The sample "Say Thanks" video mirrors Facebook's "Looking Back" video, which allowed users to look back at their top posts and memorable pictures from over the years. - photo by Courtesy: Vimeo

Facebook recently launched “Say Thanks,” a quick yet customized way to send thanks in the form of a video card.

The sample “Say Thanks” video mirrors Facebook’s “Looking Back” video, which allowed users to look back at their top posts and memorable pictures from over the years. Nearly 200 million users took advantage of the “Looking Back” feature but expectations for the “Say Thanks” feature are even bigger, according to Mashable.

“Millions of people use Facebook every day to connect with the people and things that matter to them most,” a Facebook press release said. “Your friends are at the core of your Facebook experience, and we are always looking for new ways to help you celebrate those friendships. There is no limit to how many personalized videos you can create and share.”

Mashable explained how it works: “Facebook members select a friend and a theme for the video, such as ‘old friends,’ ‘friends,’ ‘complicated’ or ‘family’ -- each theme has its own music and feel. Similar to how users were able to select and edit photos for their Look Back video, it’s possible to choose the photos that most represent your friendship with that person and include wall posts” as well.

But not everyone is thankful for this new feature or the probability of having thank-you video cards fill-up their news feed.

“Say Thanks” is “everything that’s impersonal about digital gratitude,” wrote Lily Hay Newman in Slate. “It’s full of clichés like thanks ‘for the good times we’ve had’ and for ‘being a friend.’ And even with the personal images, the background graphics make the videos seem more like Facebook proper than an intimate mode of communicating gratitude to a friend. … It’s one thing to wish someone a happy birthday on Facebook, and another altogether to call them, write them, or see them on that day. ‘Say Thanks’ has the same limitation.”

Facebook’s new feature isn’t the only way of expressing gratitude in the digital age. “Gratitude Journal” is an app that “has seen the top spot on the lifestyle chart in the App Store as well as being featured by Oprah,” reported Fast Company. The app encourages users to record what they are thankful for each day. Gratitude Journal allows users to attach photos, turn their gratitude journals into PDFs or share certain selections on Facebook and Twitter, according to the app’s website.

“Aside from my personal religious practice, I’m most often reminded to be grateful by Facebook posts from the … #365grateful movement,” J. Nathan Matias, a PhD student, wrote on the MIT Center for Civic Media blog.

The #365grateful movement is a social media trend that invites users to take a photo each day of one thing they are grateful for.

“It made me see what I had in my life rather than what I was running towards. It also made me be really present to my children and nature and the delight of little things,” said Hailey Bartholomew, who started the #365grateful movement, in The Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s the sweet stuff of life but when you’re in a hurry getting somewhere you don’t notice.”

Email: jpeacock@deseretnews.com, Twitter: @thejoepeacock