Text on Facebook Gets Delightful

I noticed something unusual on Facebook the other day. My mom had posted some results from a dog show. Her dogs did well, and I love my mom, so, like a dutiful son, I “liked” her post. I soon endured a deluge of notifications as friends and family sent her good vibes and congratulations. I noticed something unusual: whenever someone wrote “Congrats”, the word was a different color. It was now an orange (#F1765E) instead of black. I clicked it, and a spray of confetti and balloons erupted across my screen.

What the what??

I dug into it. Thanks to Chrome DevTools and React DevTools I was able to narrow in on the “Congrats” snippet and learn some things. Facebook appears to be experimenting with something called “TextDelights.” My guess is that these are delightful little animations that can be triggered by certain text keywords left in a post or a comment (or other “surfaces”). Each TextDelight is called a campaign, and there are two campaigns were available to me: Congrats and xo. (I say “to me,” because Facebook practices A/B testing and staggered rollouts, and other Facebook users may see more or fewer campaigns than I.) Congrats is orange and launches confetti and balloons, whereas xo shows pink (#eb6575) and conjures floating trios of hearts.

Each campaign has an ID, an array of keywords, and (through more digging) an animation URI. The array of keywords allows for different languages and text variations (xo or xoxo or xoxoxo, for instance). Congrats has 57 keywords (including: “Congrats” and “Felicitaciones” but not “Congratulations” and, more recently, “Congratulations”), and xo has 28 (including: “xo” and “Besos y abrazos” but not “hugs and kisses”). The campaigns are associated with an animation URI which appears to be a jpg but is actually a complex and obfuscated JSON object. I found an example for the Congrats animation, but I’ve had a hard time deciphering it.

If you want to see these delights, I created a public post showcasing them, just in case you don’t know anyone you want to kiss or congratulate. (If they don’t work for you, you’ll just have to imagine how beautiful it is.) Go forth and embrace the delight!

UPDATE: Hat tip to commenter Shelly Milligan for pointing out “rad”. You can type a #e648ef “rad”, “radness”, “da hora”, etc., and it conjures rocket-powered thumbs-ups.


“sosumi” lives on in Apple’s source code.

After heavily drooling over iPhone 5 and iOS 6, I was reading the HTML for Apple.com‘s homepage, and I came across something that made me smile.

Here’s the snippet:

The division of code that details their legal info has a class of “sosumi”, which intentionally sounds and looks Japanese but is really a reference to a famous Apple sound and trademark dispute.

The short story is that Apple Computer had been fighting against Apple Corps for the right to use the name “Apple”. Apple Corps (owned The Beatles) gave them that right if they stayed out of music. Things got tricky, however, when it came down to anything even slightly musical, including system alert sounds.

When Jim Reekes was designing sound for System 7, the now-famous sosumi alert was thought, by Apple’s legal team, to be too musical. “So sue me” was Jim’s reply, which he then used as the name for the sound. Written as “sosumi”, he convinced the lawyers that it was Japanese, and they allowed it.

It seems someone on Apple’s web team remembers that story and still has a sense of humor about it. You can read (slightly) more on the sosumi Wikipedia page.