Facebook is a cultural phenomenon and the key conversation in social business. Its role in design is also changing strategies and approaches across experiences, offline and online. Of particular significance is that cute little thumb icon and those four little letters, “like”. People like lots of things. According to sites like AllFacebook.com, over 70 million people “like” things every day. Ironically, one of the most “liked” things is actually Facebook itself, with over 35 million fans. Data is still rolling on the effectiveness of a “like”, especially with regard to ROI. Facebook continues to introduce innovative ways for business to measure success, including an updated Insights dashboard last year.
We know that Facebook “likes” business and business “likes” Facebook, but what about design? Mark Cuban had a fantastic post last year on design and the “like” button. Mashable also had its own perspective recently on the impact the “like” button is having across the Web. Here’s my own spin… the buttons that Facebook needs but doesn’t have today. Here’s a few:
Dislike. This one is pretty obvious but is really needed. Even a simple thumbs down as an alternative to the thumbs up. I’m not trying to spread Hatorade across the Internets, it’s more of providing a forum for the other side of positive feedback, especially for businesses.
Love. Anyone who has checked out Seth Godin’s work on permission marketing, knows there’s levels of engagement, especially between a brand and a consumer. Like may be a good measure in that relationship, but there are those consumers as you move up the engagement curve that want more. Godin refers to these at the “Intravenous” level. They’re chips are all in. For those consumers, it’s not about like, it is about love. I may “like” Camping World and TaylorMade Golf but I “love” the Budos Band and Adriana Lima, nice.
Terminator. We know an important role of YouTube, Facebook and other social resources is to introduce new ways to destroy time throughout the day. What better way to help out your network than calling it out in advance by marking it with the “terminator”. This way you can aggregate all of your time-destroying resources into a single feed. I realize it may just be easier to follow Charlie Sheen’s Twitter feed, yet this would be a great complement.
Skittles. This one has two strategies. One, “skittles” is one of my favorite words. I see the opportunities for a “skittles” button in showing your appreciation for things that are cool or different in interesting ways. Tag that cool photo or piece of digital art from Huck Gee with some “skittles”. Two, let the brands create their own buttons. Facebook embraces open-source, so why not open it up to the very brands that using it as a platform. The idea of integrating Facebook deeper into existing Web experiences continues to be a focus for Facebook. Maybe this is a next step to explore.
We can’t get too crazy here. The user experience of Facebook is already challenging at times and we don’t want to make it more unusable. Still, a little can go a long way toward more engagement and integration of Facebook into the Web.
So there’s a few buttons to consider. What do you think? Any buttons you’d like to see added to the mix?