Pet Please #39: The Like Button

The greatest innovation of 2010 is the Facebook Like button.

Seriously. I think we’re only beginning to understand the potential for the Like button. Facebook had vulnerabilities before incorporating this button into their system (first on status updates and apps, then on everything, even individual comments on photos and status updates). But not now. It’s over. Facebook wins.

Facebook aside, I’m really, really excited about the Like button. And yes, I know, I’m a little behind on the uptake, but I came around this past weekend. I realized a few reasons why the Like button is so powerful:

  1. It’s so easy, but it says something. You press a button, and all of a sudden you tell the world, “I like this.” And you tell the originator of the thing you’re liking, “I’m thinking of you right now.” Or, in Avatar-speak, “I see you.” That’s huge. All with a single click.
  2. It’s participatory. 5 people like this. 10 people like this. 57 people like this. Without signing up for anything, you’re joining a group. Sure, you’re sharing precious data about your preferences with the world, but that’s okay. Because we’re comfortable telling the world what we like.
  3. It’s trackable. Not only can you go back and see things that you’ve liked in the past, but you can also see specific people who like the same things you like (include things that you said and created). Real people using their real names. This is a higher playing field than Twitter. Mark Cuban is currently gathering support to revamp the college football BCS system, and he’s intentionally writing about it on Facebook so that athletic directors and school presidents can not only see how many people support his efforts, but also specifically where those people come from.

I want to live in a world where you can like anything. I started with Google Chrome–I added a Like widget so I can Like any web page I’m on. Then I added a Like button to the blog. Now you can Like any post I write. One click, done.

But I don’t want to stop there. I’d like people to be able to Like individual comments on the blog, because, let’s be fair, you all are pretty clever sometimes.

I want to Like television shows while I’m watching them. And I don’t mean that I log onto Facebook, search for Fringe, and click the like button. I want virtual Like buttons everywhere (this is possible with smartphones).

I don’t just want to Like television shows in general, I want to Like individual moments and lines in television shows. I want to Like specific plays while I’m watching football (this alone could revolutionize highlight shows. You could log on to ESPN and watch the most Liked moments from any game in any sport at any time). I want to Like someone’s shirt I see at church so I can look into buying it later (and so the person, whether or not I know them, gets applauded for his taste in clothes). I want to Like cute girls running in the park, they can Like me back later if they like what they see. I want to Like restaurants and specific dishes I eat, and I want those restaurants to know that I Liked them so they can send me coupons later.

What else? How far can this go? Do you want to live in a Like world?