Do NOT like me on Facebook

14 Jan

There is really no point questioning the selection of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s baby-faced founder, as Time Magazine’s Man of the Year. What he has created is a phenomenal universe onto itself: an insular, isolated utopia where everything is governed by rules, observances and protocols. It even has its own language.

The tricky thing about it is how benign it is. For any counter-culture business, Facebook is not currently the place to be.

But imagine if you could Hate a business, idea or link on Facebook. We were discussing this around the boardroom table yesterday. Imagine if clicking on a Hate button produced a negative sound: a fart, or a boo, or an irritated growl.

That sure would be a lot more fun, and it would allow those counter-culture businesses to move comfortably in. It would also help mitigate the relentless chirpy feel-good positivism of the site, which just doesn’t feel real.

As it stands now, Facebook seems too much like Up With People for its own good.

Do you Hate this idea?

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27 Responses to “Do NOT like me on Facebook”

  1. Reg January 14, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Okay, so you mention Up with People and I can’t help but respond. Having travelled with the group (yes, my 25 year reunion is this summer, and I’m going — and yes, I’m well aware that The Simpsons, among others, have rightfully skewered them, calling them, “Hooray for Everything”), I know what it’s like to live and breathe a super high-octane positive energy smile-till-it-hurts environment.

    And yeah, it IS a bit saccharine and all the rest; however, I will say that if I didn’t already have it naturally, it built and reinforced the power of positive thinking, and it has influenced the way I look at the world ever since.

    To your idea for Facebook, I’m not opposed, but I don’t like it (and yes, I recognize the irony of that assertion — there is no “don’t like” button for me to register). I think the button could quickly become a misused and abused item, and I could easily see lots of people getting hurt (rightly or wrongly). Bad enough how kids (and adults) can write/say some incredibly nasty things about each other online; why give them a vehicle to make it convenient and more visual? I can see how your suggestion does make for some GOOD, even humourous, possibilities, but I think it’s fraught with potential problems, too.

    Funnily enough, while I’m not an unabashed fan of FB (it can waste a lot of time, just as with a whole lot else online), I actually like that, in this cynical world, there can be something that allows (okay, forces) people to (inadvertently) try being more positive. The biggest irony, for me, is that although Zuckerberg has been accused of being very anti-privacy with too many opportunities for too much information to get out there, the absence of a “Hate” button is actually a limitation — and I, for one, am hitting the “like” button on that.

    Sorry, Doug, I Hate the idea (but I Like you).

    And now, if you’ll all just sit back, I’ll serenade you with that old favourite, Up With People (Well, it happened just this morning, as I was walking down the street…..).

  2. dougbrowncreative January 14, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    Walking down the street serenading people with the Up With People jingle? Isn’t that a Viagra commercial Reg?

    Seriously, you’ve always known that most of us creative guys have a black edge around us. It’s what makes us restless and propels us to scoff at convention and question authority.

    My feeling is the Hate button would actually reduce negative dialogue. Right now people leave their full-blown negative comments. A Hate button takes away the specificity of the dislike. It’s just a NO, rather than a “Here’s why I think this idea sucks and why you should get yourself a new day job.”

    Speculative of course. But I don’t think you can suppress or deny the human predilection towards negative as well as positive reviews. You can only hope to channel them appropriately.

    Sorry I dissed your old glee club Reg, no offence intended!

  3. Eden January 14, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    I agree with Reg. While it makes sense to have a “Hate” or “Dislike” button as the natural opposite to the “Like” button, could you imagine the shit storm that could result on an Air Canada page over the holidays? Or BC Ferries, pretty much any time?

    I think one of the interesting facets of social media is that it’s not perceived as ‘the real world’ and people are braver than they would normally be. There’s a divide between them and who they’re talking to, so it doesn’t seem like a little click of a button would cause a lot of damage. There will always be the opinionated ones who write nasty things on the internet, but why encourage maliciousness?

    Having said all that, it would make for an interesting experiment…

  4. dougbrowncreative January 14, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Eden I agree that people are generally braver in social media than they normally would be. Part of that is the anonymity issue. Shane Goth and I were discussing that this week. There are so many anonymous tweeters and commenters – why should we give them any kind of soapbox for their opinions if they’re not prepared to identify themselves?

    How does this relate to the blog post above? Well, there is no anonymity on Facebook. So my guess is people are less likely to be braver there. I’m not sure that the Hate or Dislike button would really change things. But interesting discussion and thanks for contributing to it.

  5. Gerry Rachar January 14, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    The problem with having a Dislike, not Hate, we have to much hate in this world now, is that it’s connected to the internet and that means you can say any thing and be anonymous. It would have to be moderated some how, after all what would it be like for the organization that just banned Money For Nothing in Canada? Until someone thinks of a way for the commenter to be responsible for their words without jeopardizing their security, we have what we have.

  6. dougbrowncreative January 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Thanks for the comment Gerry. The anonymity issue comes up again.

    Currently the only way on Facebook to not like something is to not Like it. It’s passive and creates a fall sense of the popularity of things. Many people “like” just to see their names in the newsfeed and to encourage people to like their thoughts, links, photos etc. in return. Facebook businesses and people just seek out positive approval. Doesn’t seem very real to me. Or productive. But I get that I am in the minority!

  7. Petra Franke January 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    I think there is enough opportunities this day and age to provide a negative…i think face-book should stay away from Hate and stay with like. Funny, I just watched the movie last night. Very interesting story!

  8. dougbrowncreative January 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    I am enjoying all these Not Likes. 😉

  9. Vanina January 14, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    I would Like to Dislike. So I guess I agree with you in some way Doug. I would hate to hate though, the word is unnecessarily aggressive. I see aggressive debates on FB today but mainly people that self appreciate themselves, their friends etc… I agree with the privacy issue and it’s a very valid point but then one has responsibility for their comments so you need to live with that regardless. As usual Doug, great debate !

  10. dougbrowncreative January 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    I’m Liking your Liking of the Disliking Vanina. Almost all the commenters here agree that Hate sucks as a word and a concept, but Dislike seems to be a more natural counterpoint with a Facebook Like. Although most don’t want to see it on the site anyway.

    Thanks for contributing to the debate Vanina – great to hear from you!

  11. Reg January 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Wow, you’ve really stirred it up this time, eh, Doug? Nice.

    I have to admit I’ve been surprised (and yes, heartened) by the number of “dislike-hate” and “dislike-dislike” statements. Perhaps that proves your point, ironically — we’re venting our dislikes without the benefit of a dislike button (though it does force us to justify our positions…). However, I still stand by my assertion of not needing/wanting it, and Like what others have to say on the topic, too.

    Perhaps, however, you’ve uncovered a sense of de facto censorship that not having a Dislike feature creates, so I do appreciate your argument.

    All that said, having taught secondary and elementary school, I’m a big fan of “put-ups” — we all deal with too many “put-downs” in our world, so I remain, pollyanna-ish if you must, all about accentuating the positive (while not ignoring the negative).

    [Side note: Doug, I wasn’t actually walking down the street singing in my post above: those are the opening lyrics to the first verse of the song Up with People…. And, since I know you and everyone else are just dying to know more about what UWP is up to these days, here’s a link to satisfy your curiosity: http://www.upwithpeople.org/ — click on the YouTube link for a quick overview of what UWP is — and isn’t — about].

  12. dougbrowncreative January 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    Hey Reg, healthy debate is all that’s on the agenda and I always appreciate your heartfelt point of view. You will note the tone of respect in all the comments, which suggests that the venue is likely to influence the conduct. I suspect that putting a Dislike button on this post would not have changed the decorum. (I know, I’m like a dog with a bone!)

    I checked out your video…. Nice to see your old UWP gang doing good things around the world. I thought the song sucked, and voted accordingly. 🙂
    I think this particular song would have been a better one:

  13. Reg January 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    Ouch. Yup, it’s the same thing, really — just 50 -60 years between the songs is all. My Mom would definitely approve — I mean Bing Crosby AND the Andrew Sisters all in one? Heaven.

    Sweet, saccharine, anesthetized dreams for the weekend, Doug,

    Reg

  14. dougbrowncreative January 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    I will let you have the last word then Reg.

  15. rantyyj January 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    “Hate” is rather a strong word to be using in my view on a subject such as this, “dislike” takes on a gentler tone.

    FB has it’s place into todays society just as Twitter has it’s place and just like the other forms of expression that the “net” has seen since inception and no doubt will see further forms in the future.

    “Hate” smells of racism which can’t be tolerated on FB or Twitter so if FB went ahead and put a “hate” button on their site then they would be defeating the purpose of it’s own identity with the people that are on it.

  16. dougbrowncreative January 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    I don’t know how racism got into the picture Rantyyj and that makes this feel all of a sudden like a Yahoo comment stream! Could you explain where you got the idea of racism from?
    I do agree with you, and all the commenters, that Dislike works better for the environment. Would you support a Dislike button?

  17. rantyyj January 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Hate got into the discussion since you have a graphic on this page that has “Hate” written on it, you should have put “Dislike” on the graphic and “Hate” would not have entered the discussion.
    Yes, but also a “S.O.T.F. button as well.

  18. lindsmaloney January 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    I just love the idea. I have been much less entertained with Facebook lately and have not been going on it as much. I started to ponder to myself as to why this was and determined that it was due to this ‘relentless chirpy feel-good positivism’ of the site. It’s just becoming too cheesy for me.

    To have a hate button with sound effects would be hilarious and would help melt away some of this cheese.

    And yes, there is that risk of it being overused, but that is exactly what has happened with the like button. Just today I saw someone like a comment they wrote. Facebook could use a little spice.

  19. dougbrowncreative January 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    > I think you misunderstood me Rantyyj. I didn’t ask how Hate got in the discussion > I asked how racism got in there! I can Hate lots of things, like cruelty and abuse, without that making me a negative person.

    And … I cannot for the life of me figure out what S.O.T.F. stands for. Survival of the Fittest? Special Operations Task Force? Sex Offender Treatment Facility? Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival??

    > Lindsey I believe we are choosing to Dislike rather than Hate. And I am good with that.

  20. Shane January 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    Digg had a system of ‘digging’ (liking) or ‘burying’ (hating) a story until v4. They pulled it in part because alliances like Digg Patriots were colluding to bury stories of political views they opposed. Mass protest from the majority of users forced Digg to bring back the bury button because the site was becoming a soapbox for publishers and uber-connected power users pushing their own content (often just to drive traffic to their own sites) without any way for average users to moderate it based on the interesting-ness of the content – which is what social news sites are all about anyway!

    Hate has its place.

  21. dougbrowncreative January 14, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    Good point Shane. Social media spaces are relatively easy places for savvy people to manipulate. I know that sounds cynical, but look what happened at Digg. Eventually the less-than-savvy start trying to play the platforms under the guise of sincerity. Look at all the “Thanks for the Follow! Check out my website!” desperate tweets. These places will evolve constantly, but suppressing sentiment causes its own problems.

  22. Amy January 16, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    The “like” button is a lazy way to communicate (although I do use it). When you don’t have anything meaningful to say, but you want your friend to know that you read their status update and agree, you can just click “like.” When you hate (or dislike) something, people usually want you to elaborate and that is just an introduction to start an argument. I don’t think FB is the right platform for that. If there is a “dislike” or “hate” button and you use it liberally, people will soon wonder why you friended them in the first place.
    As it is, FB kind of forces you to deal with your “friends” as you should deal with people in the real world: Don’t like them, then just ignore them and move on. There are plenty of other platforms to express your dislike.

    • dougbrowncreative January 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

      So the Like button isn’t really a reflection of any positive sentiment. And there’s no button to say you Dislike. What is the point of this site if you can’t trust the likes and you never learn of the dislikes. Bit la-la land, heh? Thanks for the honesty in your comment Amy.

  23. Ralev Brand Design January 19, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    There’s a saying : “For him – good or nothing” … that’s basically expressing the anti-hate ideology that’s quite positive and working 🙂
    And besides – you still can leave a “hate” comment under whatever you need.
    If you really need it, of course 🙂

  24. dougbrowncreative January 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Interesting point Ralev Brand Design. I was going through all the online spaces I could find that invited commentary, from YouTube to Yahoo to to Facebook, blogs I read and trip advisors. Half seem to invite positive/negative “votes” through a single click. Was this useful/not useful? Like/Dislike? Thumbs up/Thumbs down? The ones with the least contentious follow-on commentary – not saying whether this is good or not – were those with just a Like or Thumbs Up: namely Facebook, and blogs like this one.
    I appreciate the comment.

  25. Maddie Aningalan February 17, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    Dead pent content material , regards for entropy.

  26. dougbrowncreative February 17, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Maddie I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean. But thanks for the comment.

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