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Should We Like the Facebook ‘Like’ Button?

The latest social media add on that has everyone buzzing is the new Facebook ‘Like’ button that has now landed not only on Facebook.com but is also finding it’s way out to regular web sites as well. On Facebook.com the Like button has replaced the long time ‘Become a Fan’ button and when it is used on other sites the Like button lets users make connections to your pages and share content back to their friends on Facebook by click on a small. light blue ‘Like’ button. It also become a kind of popularity meter like the ‘Retweet’ and ‘Digg’ buttons where can see how many people have clicked the button.

I get their strategy to try and move the Facebook experience out beyond the site itself which they have not been able to really do before now but should we like the ‘Like’ button? Having tried it out on a few sites and even putting in on this blog for the past week .

The first thing I found out after I implemented it on my blog and asked some people about it was no one cared about it or used it. They felt like it was just one more thing that was late to the party in the already crowded sea of social media.

But when it comes right down to it the biggest problem I have with the Facebook Like button is that I ‘m not going to invest time, resources and money into something that they can change without my input at any time and they have a horrible track record for sticking with a direction like this for the long haul.  It used to be all about the Boxes on your personal page that we all developed mini applications for and then those were buried and slowly phased out. Then it was all about grouping users into networks as the core of the site until those got disbanded. It was all about having your community as a group page until they changed that to pages instead.  I would start in on the changes to their rules and permission but we would be here all day. And on, and on, and on… These things in themselves have been frustrating enough but they have been contained to just their site. Now that they are pushing that out to other sites it has to have more stability than what they have shown in the past. For right now I don’t believe this going to be any different other than the newest flavor of the moment that is going to leave a bad aftertaste when they go a new direction a year from now.

So for now my advice is to continue to drive traffic to your Facebook community group or page on Facebook.com where the problems and changes can be contained and don’t effect your site.

3 Comments

  1. MIke

    June 2, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Stephen,

    I would have to disagree with you. On one of my projects for UCLA Happenings http://happenings.ucla.edu (UCLA’s campus events calendar) we’ve been using Facebook’s “Recommend” button (same as “Like” just reworded) with great success. It has really helped keep users engaged with our site and help promote events using word-of-mouth. I wrote about this as well: http://www.takadesigns.com/blog/2010/05/11/keeping-users-engaged-with-facebook-social-plugins/

    Also, Facebook makes it very easy now to implement their Social Plugins. With very little coding or work, we’ve been able to implement this feature.

  2. Stephen Gates

    June 2, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Mike,
    I never said it wasn’t easy to implement and didn’t or couldn’t add some value to a site. It certainly can in the same way Twiiter and Digg has for a long time since this is far from an original concept. My point was that Facebook doesn’t have a great track record in sticking with a new direction like this and it is more robust than a simple retweet buttons. So you could have site that was successful this year and doesn’t work next year when they go in a new direction leaving this behind.

  3. Mike

    June 3, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Stephen,

    I was referring to your quote:

    “But when it comes right down to it the biggest problem I have with the Facebook Like button is that I‘m not going to invest time, resources and money…”

    However, my experiences with it have taken very little time, resources and money to implement this feature. The opposite of what you are suggesting. If a year from now it’s not successful and they go in a new direction, you haven’t lost that much. If anything, you were able to use their platform to your advantage to engage users you otherwise would not have gotten through this medium.

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Creative Director, Designer, Brand Builder, Speaker, Podcaster, Crazy One. As a designer, I have 20+ years experience creating the strategy, concepts, and designs for award-winning integrated global advertising campaigns, building multiple global Fortune 500 brands and creating innovative digital experiences. As a leader, I have 15+ years transforming agency and client-side teams using a mix of creativity, business strategy, process and political skill to create innovative, world-class work and cultures that change industries and companies. My clients have included American Airlines, W Hotels, Disney, Citi, ExxonMobil, Acura, Old Navy, Nationwide Insurance, Verizon, Subaru and many others. My work has received over 150 international awards, my app designs have been named as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Apps, Apple has featured my work in 9 keynotes, 4 TV commercials and more.

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