Liking is Not Enough


“I wish there was a ‘Dislike’ button for this.” 

That statement has become almost a cliché on Facebook comment threads.

Yet, in the years since introducing the “Like” button (and having at least one baby named after it), Facebook Inc. has resisted making that move, sticking with its unidirectional vector, a powerful postive stroking mechanism that has addicted hundreds of millions of people. The market capitalization of that addiction –as Facebook goes public this month —  is estimated at $100 billion.

What’s ‘Like’ Got to Do With It?

According their SEC filing this past Wednesday, Facebook’s 845 million active monthly users generated an average of 2.7 billion Likes and Comments per day during the three months ended December 31, 2011.   In addition to last week’s SEC filing, on Friday the Pew Internet and American Life Project released a research report about Facebook, with the overarching message that Facebook users “get more than they give,” which is an unsurprising finding in a micro-economy of positive reciprocation.

Facebook Inc.’s mission statement is “To make the world more open and connected,” and in order to do this, it has developed a toolkit of psychological triggers that get its users sharing their thoughts, feelings, opinions, whereabouts and other personal data in exchange for the creepy feeling of being watched by a machine and its targeted advertisements.

As Facebook grows and runs the treadmill of Wall St. earnings reports, it will need to continue to build ways to engage its users, which ultimately means finding more ways for them to engage with each other and share as much of themselves as possible.

Taking it to the Next Level

“I wish there was a ‘Like’ for your ‘Like.”

Ah, another emerging Facebook cliché, aka,  “I want to reciprocate the stroke you have given me,” aka, “thank you for your life-saving kindness.”

I think it’s a good thing Facebook has resisted the thumbs up/down mechanism used by other websites. Facebook’s ‘Like’ is not about voting and ranking things… most of the time.  The main purpose of having the ‘Like’ alone, with no ‘Dislike’ alternative, is to keep things cheerful, to keep people coming back for more.  If you want to hate on someone, or even commiserate with someone, you’ve got to do it in a written comment. If you’re not willing to make the effort of typing, Facebook only allows for positive expressions of recognition.

That’s why I think Facebook should add a ‘Love’ button.

You see, Facebook has already well on its way to achieving its mission of warm-and-fuzzy world domination.

Step One was:  Get them addicted to cheap and easy social validation.

Step Two should be:  Spread more love.

There isn’t enough love in the world, and Facebook could be the catalyst for improving on that.  Yes, some users may indiscriminately upgrade all of their ‘Likes’ to ‘Loves,” and that would say something about their temperament… but what’s the problem with that?  Why should these passionate souls have their hearts bleed out in a lukewarm bath of ‘Like’ness?  Give them the heat they desire.  For the rest of us, we can reserve that extra little bit of ‘Love’  juice for special moments.

Two levels: ‘Like’ and ‘Love.’

Above that, then yes, you’ve gotta bother to write something in the comments.

Something like, “OMG LOLOLOLOL”



POSTSCRIPT:

aha, someone’s already done it… “The Love Button” browser plug-in by Malcolm Randall… kind of like rose tinted glasses for Facebook that you can choose to wear:

http://themalchemist.com/lovebutton/   and  http://www.facebook.com/presslove#!/presslove?sk=info

..and as I think about it some more, could it be that Facebook has changed since its carefree days of youth? Perhaps what the cautionary tale of ‘Poke’ (and its jump-the-shark app alternative, ‘SuperPoke’) teaches us is that the exchange of love is not a core function of Facebook?

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About danspira

My blog is at: http://danspira.com. My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on February 5, 2012, in Business, Cool Companies, Diversions, Positivity, Psychology, Social Media and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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