Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Facebook was right about the "like" button

While the attention is still focused on Facebook and privacy, there has been far less talk about the change from "become a fan" to "like" for company and group pages. My first response to this was to "dislike" the whole idea. I know if I'm truly a fan. Liking is far more subjective and changeable. What if I'm sort of lukewarm? Is there a "meh" button? No, there is not.

There was also the torturous way that Facebook was treating the English language. Getting an email that reads something like, "John Major suggests you 'like' British Petroleum" is a skin-crawling experience for anyone who was raised to speak and write properly. He does? I do? This is nothing short of grammatical butchery--and who knows what new horror the folks at Facebook will present to us next.

There was also a certain creepiness factor. While I've been on the side of moderation on the whole Facebook privacy question, I'll admit I had a bad feeling about where this was going. It was clearly an attempt to gather more data for marketers--the larger plan being to spread the "like" button far and wide across the open Internets. This may benefit Facebook and its advertisers, but would it really help me?

In short, I was all ready to hate the whole "like" button idea.

Fast forward a few weeks. I am finding that when people suggest I "like" a company, product or group, I'm doing it. Click, click. I may not be a full-on fan of the thing, but I definitely like it. It's a lighter weight, less cumbersome option. This is exactly the reasoning behind the change, according to Facebook itself. And lo and behold, they were right. And while I'm still a lot less likely to "like" something outside of Facebook, every once in awhile, I do hit that button, and I do it gladly.

What do you think? Are you finding this option to be preferable, or do you miss becoming a "fan?" Or, are you so fed up with Facebook at this point that you don't even care?

Meanwhile, here is Betty White's view of Facebook, in case you haven't seen it (via B.L.Ochman):


John Mark Troyer said...

Biggest problem is that the results are opaque to the user -- I'm not sure if hitting "like" will just put a notification in my stream (old Like behavior), or if it will add a Page to my interests and sign me up to receive updates from whatever I've liked (old Fan behavior).

Sunshine said...

Interesting point, John. So far, my experience is that it's more like the old "like" behavior, as I haven't been receiving updates. But knowing Facebook, they might change this up without really letting any of us know.

Jame Ervin said...

I was dying of laughter when Betty White commented on Facebook on SNL. I am not sure how I feel about the "like" but I did find it annoying when facebook was trying to force me to like my interests.