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Why I don’t like the Like

June 3, 2010

I wrote recently about why I was not quitting Facebook and it was not surprising to see this post raise the ranks to be one of my most popular posts ever. So what? You may well ask. Well this observation of mine somewhat goes to explain that firstly people are interested in Social Media (as if half a billion users couldn’t already tell me that) and secondly and in my view the most telling, that users of this Social Media and who have questions and problems regarding this medium will read and trust the opinions of the users of the medium whether it be from blogs, journals or even posts from within the given medium.

So this brings me to but next post “why I don’t like the like”

Recently Facebook introduced a new feature to the web know as Like, you can find some great background information in this article from PC World Facebook’s ‘Like’ Button: What We Know So Far

I am an internet user and have been since the introduction of the World Wide Web into Australia; I have worked in IT at different stages of my life and would say that I find the internet to be an amazing adjunct to my life. I started using Facebook a little over two years ago and at first loved it, was eager to find as many friends as possible, posted regularly and it seemed nothing could stop me wanting to login and share the most mundane activity with my friends and worse take wounder in every mundane activity that my friends posted. I played some of those annoying games that everyone complains junks up your news stream, and I became fans of many causes and some just plain dumb stuff, but hey everybody was doing it and it was fun.

And yes there was this silly little like button, a way of telling my friends that I was watching, that I really did not have anything worth while to say to them, that I can’t be bothered posting them a message but hey I like what you doing, I think the like button was a really a narcissistic gauge, it was so about me and had jack to do with my friends, it was my way of stamping my approval on others actions, it was all about me.

I soon tired of Facebook, it no longer held the great attraction that it once did, I found other things to do, I ran out of new friends to befriend, I think my friends lost interest as well, the mundane posts dried up, the initial awe had waned and it was now just another social medium that I used.

I don’t think that the waning of my Facebook love was unique and at all contained; I felt that others were also finding the excitement had gone, like a once really cool night spot that’s lost it’s edge, it was becoming like what I think the users of MySpace once the dominant Social Media site felt, is was becoming boring.

I think that Facebook could see this too, things started changing, now most people talk about the changes in terms of privacy and that is part of it, but what Facebook is changing and the reason it is it is changing is that it “opening up”.

Facebook has always been a closed ship, tightly controlled and walled, sure it had API’s but they controlled the flow, sure you could advertise but you had to go inside and fit to their view of the world. But after all of the buzz, and all the spectacular growth in user numbers, its users, the people were venturing back outside, going back to the open net. Facebook had no control over you there yet:

So in a brilliant move and I am sure one the advertisers will love Facebook have decided to take over the net, with the Like button

Now the scary thing about this button is its not the narcissistic gauge it once was, no this little beauty will with your consent collect a bucketful of data about you and freely share this with Facebook and of course advertisers. Now of course none of this is illegal, it is totally opt in and could pave the way for better and more targeted content so don’t get me wrong, this is why I don’t like the Like.

It you have liked (no pun intended) this post or have any interesting thoughts on Facebook or any other Social Media please leave a me a comment.

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