Friday, April 23, 2010

411 on the New Facebook 'Like' Functionality

As you probably have noticed Facebook has changed rather drastically to incorporate it's new 'Like' function across the net. Users of Facebook know how to use 'Like' when looking at status updates, links, pictures, etc. but now Facebook is tackling the ability to use the function across the Internet.

I delved into some of the changes that are going on and here is a quick 411 of what they are doing.

- Like Web page articles
It won't take long for pages to slowly acclimate the 'Like' button into their pages so that you can let all of your Facebook friend's know that you liked a certain article. For example, just a moment ago I was reading a CNN article about home sales actually improving and I gave a quick 'Like' at the bottom of the article. Since I was logged into Facebook, it knew that I had stated that and my Facebook page updated to let all of my friends know that I liked the article and gave a link for them to click to read the article (where have I seen a very similar function…oh yeah, it was called retweeting in Twitter, but I digress).

- Link your profile information to pages instead of searching
At this point, I am not a fan of this function but we will see if it will grow on me. As part of this 'Like' movement, Facebook is going to force you to take the information that you put in your profile and convert it to pages that may or may not be in the Facebook network. What this basically means, if you are in your 'Profile' and click on 'Info' any of your interests, employment history, and education information that is clickable now takes you to a Facebook page instead of searching Facebook. For example, I went ahead and clicked on the college I went to under my information. This used to search the college and the year that I graduated to display the people who also went there and graduated that same year but instead it now takes me to a page that hasn't been created yet, the college page with my graduation year. Searching the college and the year I graduated was actually a rather helpful tool since people were constantly joining Facebook, I could browse new people who I may have known from college. Now, I just go to some page that has no information whatsoever but it may if someone takes the initiative to make the page and people join it and make it a separate community. In order to do the search for my college now I have to click 'Find People' at the bottom and then scroll down and click the college. Yes, it follows the three-click rule and yes, it isn't a big deal but now I have to retrain myself and I hate that.

- No more fans
This isn't really much of a difference in my mind (even though there are already dozens of groups complaining about it) but pages now use different verbiage when joining them. You used to 'Become a fan' now you 'Like' it. No real big deal.

The big downside
While I don't really see this as being anything new, pretty much every article on the Web has a retweet button for Twitter users to pass it on to their Twitter followers, it is bringing a larger audience to the table to spread information. Seeing as there is, oh nearly 500 million logins a month on Facebook, a good article could really gather some steam (hint…hint…tell your friends, see my little 'Like' button below) which is great news for blog writers and other sites. Once a plug-in that automates WordPress and the like comes out, you will see the 'Like' button everywhere - you can add it now rather easily per page just through a Facebook wizard. That being said, the biggest downside I see is if this takes off I will be scrolling through pages upon pages of 'So and so likes CNN', 'So and so likes GeekyClown', 'So and so likes whatever'. I already have to scroll through a bunch of crap I don't care about that I don't want to hide just in case there is something interesting every once in awhile, now adding 'Like' is adding insult to injury. Oh well, all is fair in love and Facebook's world domination…

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