Social Media Tools, Facebook

Why Won’t Facebook Give Us a Love Button?

facebook like button  Why Wont Facebook Give Us a Love Button?Last week, Facebook celebrated the one year anniversary of the “like” button, the popular successor to the “fan” button, and the tip of the spear of its Open Graph gambit that it hopes will allow it to become the plumbing of the Web.

By any measure, the “like” button is a smash hit. It is served billions of times each day, and silently connects us to a vast array of our preferences, providing ongoing cues about who we are and with whom and what we choose to interact.

Physiologically, it takes exactly one click of one finger to click the “like” button. So it’s not exactly a blood oath. In many cases, the “like” button click is no more than digital bumper stickering, a casual statement of preference. But sometimes, it’s not.

Do We Have to Just Be Friends?

The problem with the “like” button is that there’s no way to have a second date. It’s a binary circumstance: you either “like” or you don’t. I can’t “like” a lot. I can’t “love”. I certainly can’t “adore”. I like the band Fleet Foxes. I love the band Radiohead. There’s a real difference in my passion for the two. But in the eyes of Facebook, my preference is the same. The “like” button has the exact same level of nuance as a light switch.

Imagine if other preference-driven interactions had the same on/off limitations. How would your Netflix recommendations look if you could only indicate whether you did or did not like a film? Would we all be getting a lot more “Dude, Where’s My Car?” showing up in our suggestions?

Long Distance News Feed Romance

I recognize that interactions with social objects in the form of additional “likes” and comments on specific status updates provide a measure of ongoing temperature control for your passions on Facebook. That’s how the Facebook EdgeRank formula works, governing what you see in your Top News stream versus what’s relegated to the less popular Most Recent (unedited) version of news.

love button 300x275 Why Wont Facebook Give Us a Love Button?The premise of EdgeRank is that if you’re truly passionate about something, you’ll most likely click “like” and/or comment on the status updates published by that something, giving Facebook a hint that they should definitely show you more of that publisher’s musings in the future, by automatically pushing it to your Top News stream.

But there are two huge flaws in that mechanism.

First, if I know from the get-go that I have inordinate passion for something, why can’t I put those cards on the table at the outset? Why can’t I click a “love” button that guarantees that everything published by Radiohead, or my wife, or my clients, or my favorite tequila brands will show up in my Top News?

Second, Facebook’s reliance upon my ongoing positive interactions with a publisher necessitate that publisher to be consistently good at Facebook. And that’s no gimmee. Lots of companies, organizations, and people struggle with striking a balance between engagement and promotion, frequency and relevancy. Radiohead is not very good at Facebook by most accounts. They rarely publish, and when they do it’s not in a way that tends to solicit a lot of interactions (which is the current best practice).

So, even though I’m a big fan and want to see whatever they write on Facebook, I may not see it because of Radiohead’s inferior use of the medium? The ability to subscribe to information should be under the control of the citizen, not the platform.

Help Me Love You

I realize that I could proactively visit the Radiohead Facebook page and see what’s happening on the Wall, but that again puts the burden on me, and is a behavior that conflicts with the overall Facebook ethos of “pushing” to me what is relevant via Top News and email alerts. And in fact, VERY few people go back to a company or organization Facebook page after liking it initially. Whatever ongoing interactions there may be overwhelmingly take place from within the user’s news feed.

The “like” button has changed the nature of social connection between people and things, and I wish it a Happy Birthday. But as we get pummeled by an invitation avalanche, with more and more and more and more things asking us to “like” them, why can’t we show some “love” as well?

(image by Shutterstock, a Convince & Convert sponsor)

Related
  • Obaidul Haque

    Hello Jay. Thanks for spearheading the idea of a ‘Love’ button from Facebook. We certainly keep thinking about why we should like or love a brand. Though ‘love’ button can be an excellent idea of showing our preferences among the brands that we like initially, I don’t think a ‘Dislike’ button or a ‘Hate’ button is going to be released anytime soon. And I wonder why not!

  • http://www.brainwads.net/drewhawkins Drew Hawkins

    I can see both sides of the coin on this. On one hand, the algorithm does require a fan page to be consistently good at posting Facebook updates. However, there could be an issue with a Love button in the fact that it would eventually be overused. People clicking a love button would more likely complain about having too much in their feed…even if it is by their own doing. Plus, the average person may not see the user experience difference between the two buttons.

    I think one compromise would be having a “favorites” type of tab for your news feed. You could have an “add to favorites” link on a page (like you do in normal browsers) and then have a separate tab on the news feed just for fan pages. It may be some sort of option to meet in the middle without throwing off the importance of engagement for the PageRank algorithm

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      I like that idea Drew. A “favorites” designation would be terrific.

    • http://twitter.com/MicheleKNY Michele Kelley

      I’m also on board with the “favorites” concept. I work in the public sector and have often wanted to follow the news feeds of various politicians or grassroots organizations, but don’t necessarily “love” or even “like” them or what they stand for — I just want to keep tabs on them. In the past, I’ve wished for a “dislike” button that could accurately convey my feelings about the person or organization but still make it so that their news shows up in my feed… A “favorites” option seems to be a fair compromise!

    • http://flavors.me/davidahood David Hood

      *Love* the idea of a favourites option. ;)
      One thing to consider is that about a year ago (?) YouTube did opposite and went from 1 – 5 rankings to likes. Their experience, though slightly different, seemed to warrant simplification.

    • http://flavors.me/davidahood David Hood

      *Love* the idea of a favourites option. ;)
      One thing to consider is that about a year ago (?) YouTube did opposite and went from 1 – 5 rankings to likes. Their experience, though slightly different, seemed to warrant simplification.

  • http://truemlmgrowth.com/blog/mlsp-review-is-myleadsystempro-right-for-you/ Steven Schmeltzle

    Hi Jay,

    I agree with you. I think there is a need for a “love” button. We “like” things to show support, but as you mentioned, there are more significant people or pages that we want to be sure we get updates from. I don’t return to many of these pages either. It’s all about simplicity and speed of getting our most relevant updates all at one place. If we have to take too many steps, it becomes a hassle. The internet has spoiled us. :)

  • http://www.thegoodnessgrows.com Mimi Meredith

    Then I might eventually need a Love, Love button!

    I do wish there was someway for us to personally design our news feed. I like
    @drewhawkins:disqus
    suggestion. I especially liked the idea of keeping fan page posts in a separate stream. Of course, that’s a personal Facebook user preference. Professionally, I want my fan page popping up everywhere :)! Thanks for this great post that will help me give my page some greater traction!

  • http://twitter.com/lmariettaf Laura France

    “LOVE” it innovation at it’s best

  • http://declandunn.com Declan Dunn

    Nice idea, love has to have reciprocity from the user – likes get 10% of people coming back on average to Facebook Pages, so that’s not really a statement. So if you “love” Radiohead, and they send you everything, sort of like an insider, what would you return to Radiohead? Love should generate some activity on the part of the user as well as the company…I’ve always measured love by ultimately purchases, repeat purchases especially, and if you love Radiohead, there should be some deeper commitment and intention behind the phrase on the part of both parties…;-)

  • http://twitter.com/stephanwehner Stephan

    Just use the RSS feed that many sites provide. Everything you “love” will be in your RSS reader.

    Stephan

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      True but there’s no RSS for Facebook (per se).

  • http://www.eclipsecreative.ca David Tapp

    Interesting that you mention Radiohead of all the bands lagging on their Facebook page. They are usually ahead of the curve with trying out new(ish) mediums for promotion. Specifically the case when strategizing record releases. The first “by donation” release for In Rainbows was brilliant … and the list goes on … They are considered industry first movers for using marketing strategies around record releases specifically, not so much the case in marketing their brand on social media I guess.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      I know. Weird, isn’t it? It seems that FB (in particular) isn’t a big part of their arsenal right now. Perhaps it’s too pedestrian for them.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      I know. Weird, isn’t it? It seems that FB (in particular) isn’t a big part of their arsenal right now. Perhaps it’s too pedestrian for them.

  • http://www.eclipsecreative.ca David Tapp

    Interesting that you mention Radiohead of all the bands lagging on their Facebook page. They are usually ahead of the curve with trying out new(ish) mediums for promotion. Specifically the case when strategizing record releases. The first “by donation” release for In Rainbows was brilliant … and the list goes on … They are considered industry first movers for using marketing strategies around record releases specifically, not so much the case in marketing their brand on social media I guess.

  • http://twitter.com/SocialySteph Stephanie Beal

    @jasonbaer:disqus I -LOVE BUTTON- the fact that you are using RADiOHEAD in your analysis.

  • http://twitter.com/SocialySteph Stephanie Beal

    @jasonbaer:disqus I -LOVE BUTTON- the fact that you are using RADiOHEAD in your analysis.

  • http://twitter.com/rvabusiness Nathan Hughes

    I like your further explanation of more nuanced “likes” — such as the way Netflix does their rating system. It would be further helpful for FB to then suggest other pages that we may “love” and give us a prediction on just how much we might “love” them. (and I would LOVE Netflix, and more specifically Netflix’s rating & suggestion system — aka, give them 5+ stars)

    As for just a love button in addition to a like button, I feel like that might get overused as some of the other commenters have mentioned.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Facebook does recommend pages and such to us now, based on our “like” history, but I don’t find it to be very accurate.

  • http://www.kherize5.com Suzanne Vara

    Jay

    The one night love affair we have with the like button. One of the problems with the like button is that we are forced in order to gain additional info/access to a page to like it. This is not telling anyone if the person really likes it or is doing so to enter the contest, get a coupon or is performing research for a post and has to like the page. Now, of course you can go and unlike the page so my argument is a bit weak. If there was a love button, would we see the same thing where you have to love in order to gain access? If they kept them both then we are starting to tread in the voting/review territory which becomes such a popularity contest where the actual brand itself gets lost. On one token the brand, if there were a love button could create a loyalty program for those that love and track their purchasing, to increase the incentive (similar to casino players clubs) The like/love could be a tiered model for the brand and the consumer which some department stores have adopted with their credit accounts however that is relying a whole lot on an outside platform that the brand does not have control over (ie changes, etc).

    It is an interesting concept as I am starting to go in different places (which I appreciate you for writing this and creating this chaos in my head as it is very useful and if we sniff enough, we might be able to smell a post coming about this). The value of the love is a bit scattered as there are so many different avenues to explore and it will create useful data, so long the brands are able to do something with the data.

    Great post Jay. Lots to throw around.

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Virtual Business Assistant

    Great post. Loved reading it. Great analytics and sure like button has changed every thing in social media and would welcome a “love” button.

    Shilpi
    Singha Roy

  • http://dianabol.blog.com/ Dianabol

    i find the whole like concept rather sad.
    steroids blog

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    While I understand the argument for a “love” button, if it was implemented, would there also become a need for a “hate” button? The possibilities are endless, however every additional function contributes to an increase in clutter that can turn people off.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    While I understand the argument for a “love” button, if it was implemented, would there also become a need for a “hate” button? The possibilities are endless, however every additional function contributes to an increase in clutter that can turn people off.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      A 1-5 scale button?

      • http://FatWalr.us/ Luke Coburn

        It sounds like what you’re suggesting would be that the Like button would be more of a shout-out to a page, while a Love button would act more like an RSS feed. I don’t think that a 1-5 scale would be the solution…that would complicate things. Part of the reason for the huge success of the Like button is in its simplicity. To add a scale would confuse users. To a certain degree, so would a Love button. Facebook has to balance simplicity with usability. As users, we don’t like the fact that they’ve done so by serving as judge and jury about what your News Feed displays.

        …Just read @drewhawkins:disqus suggestion below, and I think that’s really the way to go.

        • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

          Maybe you could have a “like” and a “+” and the “+” forces it into your Top News?

      • http://live-your-love.com/ Brankica U

        I can’t believe it’s been a year already!

        I just want to say this scale button would be great, cause I so want to click the UNLIKE button on certain stuff, lol

    • http://davezilla.com/ Dave Linabury

      Nick, I too, long for a hate button. However, I wish the algorithm was based on repeated user interaction with a brand. For example, if I like your brand, that’s one thing. If I like your brand, come back to your page weekly, I am a fan. If I like, come back and join a user group for your brand, I am an engaged fan, and if I begin creating content, starting groups, responding to others on behalf of the brand, I become an influencer.)

  • Anonymous

    I like the idea of segmenting items in Facebook from what we support/like and things we truly want to actively engage/love. This idea of a “Love” button would definitely help increase fan engagement, provide valuable insight into what fans really want to see, and give the brand a more accurate depiction of their following. Maybe an idea for “Yo, Zuck!” J http://www.allfacebook.com/ideas-for-improving-facebook-yo-zuck-2011-04

    Ann
    SteadyRain
    http://www.steadyrain.com

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Great plan! I’m going to Yo Zuck it up!

  • http://www.businessesgrow.com Mark W. Schaefer

    Really like this, er love this, ummm.. you get it. In an effort to keep it simple, perhaps some things are too simple. Wouldn’t it be useful to rate certain posts, articles or even tweets? Radiohead is my favorite band … well, maybe after Royal Bangs! : ) Good post Jay.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Thanks Mark. I like Royal bangs too ;)

  • http://www.socialmarketingdynamics.com/ Sydney @ Social Dynamics

    Perhaps it’s just a normal aversion to a solid commitment that all we can produce in the social media front is the “like” button?lols

  • http://fbml-templates.net Tim Soulo

    I did think about that too for a while. My conclusion was: “if you want to succeed – make it simple”. As you can see, Facebook has now removed it’s Share button, because it made things “too complicated”. Why should you have 2 buttons on your website for Facebook while Twitter works fine with a single one? Which of those buttons should people click? Is there a chance that they won’t click any just because they hesitate around the choice?
    As it was already mentioned in the comments – the variations of the love/hate buttons and their functionality are endless. And there will always be someone preaching about the lack of options.

    That’s my point :)

  • http://solomonsucceeds.blogspot.com/ Solomon Garner

    @jasonbaer:disqus Alright Mr. Bear, I want to comment on two things:  1) your issue with the “Top News” formula (or the fact that there is a formula at all) and 2) your love button idea.

    First of all, I know it’s not ideal—Facebook doesn’t make it clear to the user that they’re not giving him all the news; the user may see the words “top news” but he might not know what that means—but there is a setting where you can abolish “Top News:”  Scroll down to the bottom of the page (when you’re in “Top News”) and click “Edit Options;” there’s an option for it. Now, it’ll still say “Top News” but in fact it will be an unadulterated feed.

    As for the “love” button or the rating system you suggested in a comment, boy do I disagree with you.  Ratings?  Which should I pick?  3 stars or 4.  For some people this is a pretty easy choice; for others, it’s at least annoying, if not difficult.  The Like button asks “do you like this?”  It’s a simple question; it’s a fun question.  Do you give this one star, two stars, three stars, four stars, or five stars?  Not so much.

    What if a friend or a person likes a status of yours and they give it a rating?  You get a notification:  “John gives your status four stars.”  You’re being rated!  It’s not “John likes your status,” it’s “John gives your status four stars.”  “Like” is a real word, a warm word, a nice word, and even five stars, though nice, it sounds really stupid in reference to a status; you rate movies and books.

    And if there were a rating system, you could rate things one star out of five.  That would be a dislike button essentially, people would finally be able to send the message “this sucks” with the click of a button.  Rejoice!  I’m totally opposed to a dislike button:  hate is a theme on the internet and I think we’ll all be better off, if the haters aren’t given the ultimate weapon of hatred.

    Also, Facebook’s fan pages have to mimic the rest of Facebook.  Right now, “Like” plays the role of the old “Become a fan;” and also contributes to the Like-count for that Page.  If there were a rating mechanism instead of a Like button, there would have to be a “Become a fan” button on the Page but then there would also be the rating mechanism?  That’s a cluttered interface right there!  And again, I bring up the haters; now that there’s a rating mechanism on Pages, boy do I feel sorry for people (or entities) with a lot of haters, e.g. Justin Bieber, who’s a good musician, a good singer, and has a great performance crew, and I hate to think what his average rating would be, which would have to be displayed on the page if there were a rating mechanism; that’s just common sense.

    But what if it weren’t a rating mechanism; what if it were separate “Love” and “Like” buttons?  Well then, that brings me back to the fan pages:  If fan pages had both Love and Like buttons, would they both have the function of adding you to the fans?  Two buttons next to each other that say different things yet have two different functions? And where it says “100,000 people like this,” would it say…

    “100,000 people love or like this”
    ???

    That sounds terrible!  How about…

    “90,000 people like this
    10,000 people love this
    100,000 people love or like this.”
    ???

    Now the fan page could just have the Like button and that would remove all those problems but if there were Love buttons everywhere else on the site, people would start wondering where the Love button’s at.

    Facebook would be having to explain to people why there can be a Love button everywhere else on the site, but you can’t “Love” your favorite stars.

    Also, the Love button might create some awkward moments too.  If you want to say you love something, that’s what the comments are for.  If you really love something, you can afford to speak in English (or another language) instead of buttons.

    Thanks for listening.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MattLBrennan Matt Brennan

    I completely agree. Some way of showing varying degrees of commitment would be a welcomed addition. Good taste in music too, by the way.

  • http://www.interactmarketing.com Online Reputation Management

     Good post on the development of Facebook’s “Like” button.  I think many are wondering what the next stage of development may look like and whether there may be a day when one could “Don’t Like” or “Love” something.

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