Such a small word, but surprisingly, it has immense connotations.
I got to thinking about this after watching The Social Network, the movie about Facebook, it’s genesis and growth.
In the movie Mark Zuckerberg, the “co-founder” of Facebook has a lightbulb moment; that peoples relationship status is an incredibly important part of a persons profile.
There are a number of key features in Facebook that make it so connectible and therefore so important to many peoples lives.
Most, if not all, revolve around sharing information: pictures, comments, links to sites, hobbies, interests, the list goes on.
But possibly the most important is the concept of Like
Like in itself is a very average word, you will not find Love on Facebook, nor will you find the ability to rate on a scale.
One thing that has been regularly asked for, but just as regularly ignored is the request for a dislike button (or hate as some people have wanted it to be called)
The fact that you can only make something positive, yet only averagely positive is a concept and can raise some interesting questions:
- If something has no likes, is it bad, or just invisible.
- How many likes = cool?
- Why is there no dislike or any negative option?
With the last one, Facebook probably don’t want to have to be moderating all of the dislikes, they have enough on their plate with hate pages and groups, objectionable picture uploads and more.
But while watching the movie, I started thinking about the word “like” and it’s links back to the sites creator.
Zuckerberg, as depicted in the movie, is a brilliant problem solver who has inspirational moments (seemingly when he is angry) to build social style websites.
Paradoxically, he seemed socially awkward and the first scene of the movie shows him being dumped by his girlfriend for his eccentricities.
Is it strange that someone who was obviously not moving within a social crowd was able to create and implement various things specifically around the social glue that we thrive on?
Is “like” an extension of this?
Until relatively recently, pages and groups on Facebook had Fans. These Fans were Facebook users that took an interest in a particular page or group and added themselves as a Fan in the same way Like was used for comments and status updates.
When Facebook changed all of the Fans to Likes I couldn’t understand the reasoning. The differentiation it brought seemed logical and fitted the nature of the Groups and Pages.
But I got the impression from the movie that Zuckerberg didn’t want Fans. He wanted people to Like what he did.
Maybe Facebook is Mark Zuckerberg, or at least his socially hip and well connected shadow.