Tipping Pitches: Technology: Facebook Dislike Button is a Bad Idea


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Technology: Facebook Dislike Button is a Bad Idea

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If you ever want to get a feeling for sentiment on Facebook, simply run a search for a key word in the Groups and Pages sections.

Thanks partly to the "new" Live Feed, I've noticed several of my friends joining a group to get Facebook to create a "dislike" button. Several of these groups and pages have been created. A basic search found that about 6 Million people have joined groups or pages in support of such development.

Personally, I think it's a terrible idea. It's not what Facebook is all about.

For the most part, Facebook is one big love fest. We're given tools to easily communicate with people we care about. "Like" things they are sharing. Comment on pictures of their kids. Share in their triumphs and provide support during their sorrows. Wish a happy birthday. Brag about Mob Wars conquests.

Facebook is successful because it promotes positive relationships. While it may not always represent our actual lives accurately, it's the warmth of Facebook that allows it to thrive. It's why Myspace is sputtering.

The Facebook experience takes a dive when you have disruptive relationships on the network. It's why starting ill-conceived debates, picking fights, or discussing sensitive topics tends to be a bad idea. It pokes a hole in the "love balloon" that is Facebook, and it's these things that eventually drive people away.

That said, a "dislike" button is worse than responding with a negative comment. It's the epitome of passive aggressive behavior.

Let's think about when it would be used. Sure, someone may use it as a joke, and I can conceive of times when its application could be quite funny. But why else would someone use it?

Ultimately, someone will give a "thumbs down" to your sensitive status or link. Something you're passionate about. Instead of simply ignoring the post or responding to what you posted and (hopefully) having a productive discussion, they will give a drive-by "thumbs down."

Fights would result. The bubbly love fest would leak out. And users would leave.

It's not only why I think it's a bad idea, but I'd bet good money that Facebook agrees.

A "dislike" button is fine to gauge user sentiment on ads and potential development.  Anything that is beyond arm's length.  But encouraging people to "dislike" what their friends are sharing opposes the core strategy of Facebook.

What do you think?  Are you a member of one of these groups in favor of a "dislike" button?  Would you actually use it, and why would you want it?


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