Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Facebook Changing Fans to Likes

Caught this article that talks about how Facebook will soon be phasing out 'Fan' and replacing the concept with 'Like' in most cases. Apparently the goal is to increase engagement with brands on the platform.

I find it to be an interesting change because of the nuances of meaning.


noun – an enthusiastic devotee, follower, or admirer of a sport, pastime, celebrity, etc.: a baseball fan; a great fan of Charlie Chaplin.

1885–90, Americanism; short for fanatic
From dictionary.com.


verb –
1. to take pleasure in; find agreeable or congenial: We all liked the concert.
2. to regard with favor; have a kindly or friendly feeling for (a person, group, etc.); find attractive: His parents like me and I like them.
3. to wish or prefer: You can do exactly as you like while you are a guest here.
From dictionary.com.

A comparative analogy would be that of American and Canadian beer. They're similar – but one's definitely weaker.

It reminds me of a book called 'Raving Fans' by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Sheldon M. Bowles. It focuses on how the best customer service produces customers who are fanatically loyal to your product. It's a great book that highlights how few companies can pull off raving fans and why. Social marketing, such as corporate participation on Facebook, is a great way for businesses to reach out to and foster raving fans.

This leads me to question whether Facebook is making the right move by watering down the concept of 'Fan' to 'Like'. Will people be content to support brands they like, vs. supporting brands they are fanatical about? Will they go out of their way to click and show their support?

There is also the residual Facebook phenomenon of users wanting a dislike button for status updates and shared items. Expect that argument to heat up as 'Fans' disappear and users can apply the same logic to 'disliking' brands.

© Jeremy Buehler and Rogue Tendencies (www.roguetendencies.com) 2010.

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