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?

12 thoughts on “Pet Please #39: The Like Button”

    • I wish I could like your comment! Instead, I offer you this, as it’s my perception that you like the outdoors/hiking (correct me if I’m wrong).

      What if there was a mobile Hiking Like app that I could activate if I was going on a hike on a trail that I knew you had traversed (I could even determine the trail by looking at your Hiking Like history, if you made it public or to your Facebook friends). While on the hike, my phone would alert me whenever I reached a view, vista, or just a neat spot that you had Liked on your hike. I could Like it too, or Like my own spots on the trail that you could be alerted to the next time you go on the Hike. The app wouldn’t require you to bury your head in the phone for the entire hike–it would simply be ingrained in the hiking experience to make the entire world a more shareable, linked experience.

      Anyone else see potential for Like apps?

      • Oh, I’m sold, all right. Let me know when this takes off. I do have hiking videos on my blog, with a like button, but it would be a lot more convenient if I could just “like” as I went.

        If I were still single, I’d be all over the “like the cute guy/like the cute girl back” app. Do you think my husband would be bummed if I repeatedly “liked him,” instead of saying “I love you”?

    • There is none. Which I think is kind of clever on Facebook’s part. The good stuff really stands out, while everything else kind of fades to the background.

  1. The ‘Like’ features was one of my festivus grievances. I understand your arguments, but I have three reasons for not liking the like button.

    1. It’s too easy. Typing ‘like’ takes only 15 more seconds but it conveys so much more commitment and genuine interest in the recipient’s comment.

    2. Invasion of privacy. I don’t want companies to know which part of the tv show I thought was funniest. I think that personalized content is a gateway to an abusive ‘big brother’ society.

    3. The absence of a dislike button. How come I can only like? What if I want to love, dislike, or be mildly amused?

    ps my sister says that a) you can already like television shows if you watch them online and b) nobody cares what people like and don’t like – obviously that is an exaggeration, but no need to propagate the culture of narcissism

    • I agree with the points ariel, just not to the end that it would be a grievance of mine.
      Anytime you have the opprotunity for feedback, you have the opprotunity for marketing. This will increase the commercialization of everything.
      In addition, there has to be an organizing body for these Likes. For instance, I like Led Zeppelin. But there are several Led Zeppelin pages on facebook to Like. how do I know that this is the real Led Zeppelin page that I should like?
      Finally the Dislike button. I see what you mean Jamey about the dislike button not being necessary. Like capitalism, when something is not encouraged, it will wither and fade away. But I am for Dislike being something stronger. I go to a restaurant, and they serve me an undercooked chicken breast, and I get food poisoning. I am not just hoping thah they will fade away. I want people to know that I Dislike this place.

      • I want to Like this comment, Red. You make two great points. I don’t have a solution for the former, but for the latter–about Dislike–I could see a value in a button that portrayed a really strong dislike for something. Using your restaurant example, what would be the ideal term? I think you need a really strong term, otherwise people are just going to dislike as much as they like. If you amplify everything, you hear nothing.

  2. If Like really takes off, I think you’ll be able to control who knows that you Like stuff.

    Like I said above, I think it’s kind of clever that there’s only a Like button. It simplifies things. It makes everything a immediate choice. There are many situations in which I don’t think that would work, but I think this is one where it does.


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