With the popularity of Facebook, and with a dearth of options, "like" has come to mean support as much as it means reacting positively to something. But sometimes sentiment gets lost in translation. Say I Like a Facebook friend's post saying he is weary from an extended job search. I'm not saying that I like that he has been looking for a job for a long time; rather, I'm acknowledging what he is going through and indicating that I admire his spirit. But what if the person who posted it is thinking I'm gleeful about his employment woes? Ugh. It's been hard enough to infer what people mean in emails; now we need to figure out what people mean with a single word! That's the problem with such a limited feedback mechanism.
A Want button would certainly be a boon for the many companies promoting their brands and products on Facebook, and that's likely why the social networking giant would institute such a tool. It would provide valuable product and customer insight, and any Wants would presumably be broadcast to Facebook users' friends and followers. This would be a very powerful social marketing tool, and it would let Facebook compete more effectively with Pinterest, which is all about wishing and wanting.
Facebook users have long clamored for the ability to more precisely state what they are thinking with just a click of a button. A Facebook Want button would certainly expand their options, but not by that much, really. As with the meaning of the word "like," the meaning of "want" can be stretched only so far.
What we need are some additional button options--not too many, as that would defeat the purpose, but enough to cover what have become standard responses to Facebook posts and to provide some compelling insight to anyone analyzing the info. Eight, plus Like and the rumored Want, would make a nice, even 10.
1. Dislike. It seems like every time someone posts something negative, one Facebook friend or another comments, "Dislike" or "Wish there was a Dislike button." Are you listening, Facebook?
2. Bravo. This button would cover a multitude of occasions and would be especially good (when used judiciously, of course) for brown-nosing when your boss posts about various company goings-on.
3. Good luck. This is another button with wide application possibilities. For example, with so many people still job hunting, this button would get lots of use when friends post about forthcoming interviews. Also good for friends heading to Las Vegas or other gaming-oriented destinations. (Bonus button: Good Luck With That, for the snarky among us.)
4. Congratulations. Did your Facebook friend get that new job, house, promotion? This button would enable you to express your feelings without having to type in the words. (It would also reduce the number of times the word is spelled out congradulations--incorrect even when you are lauding someone for graduating).
5. Better luck next time. Didn't get the job, house, promotion? This button will let you easily express your condolences (real or not).
6. Message me. Some responses to Facebook updates are better said in private. This button would indicate that you want to take a conversation out of the public realm.
7. More information, please. This button would indicate a desire for more information about something that has been posted and could link to an email address. Lead-gen gold.
8. Enough, already. This button--especially if you could use it anonymously--would be good for those friends who post incessantly about, well, anything.
Would the eight Facebook buttons I am proposing, plus Like and Want, do it for you? What buttons would you add to the list? Please comment below.
Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.
Every company needs a social networking policy, but don't stifle creativity and productivity with too much formality. Also in the debut, all-digital Social Media For Grownups issue of The BrainYard: The proper tools help in setting social networking policy for your company and ensure that you'll be able to follow through. (Free with registration.)