While reading The Charlotte Observer the other day, I came across an article about a respectable doctor in Charlotte who did a not-so-respectable thing. (I’m not naming any names as I enjoy my current status as a lawsuit-free citizen.) As I’m shaking my head in disbelief, I notice that 23 people have clicked the Facebook Like button. I am then left to wonder, what exactly do these people like about this? Do they like this doctor? Do they like what he did? Do they like that this controversy was brought to light? Or is it possible that we, a socially-connected society, are becoming addicted to Like.
I am the first to admit that I hand out my Facebook Likes like candy. Jennifer is in a relationship. Like! Adam just downloaded the new Foo Fighters CD. Like! Sarah just got to the mall. Like! Really? Do I really like the fact that Sarah is shopping and has decided to tell all of her Facebook friends, or am I just a little obsessed with the Like button?
I mean, come on, it’s easy to get a little Like-happy every now and then. With one satisfying click of your mouse, you can instantly give a thumbs-up to Sarah’s shopping habit. The Like button makes social interaction easy and doesn’t even require witty comments. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t like to post something and immediately see that their eighth grade teacher Likes it?
As a self-proclaimed Like button junkie, I’m starting to see that the effects go far beyond that initial high. Marketers have quickly caught on to America’s Like addiction which has helped to elevate the oldest and most successful form of advertising: word of mouth.
Say you visit the website of your favorite happy hour spot to see the weekly specials. While you’re browsing, you see that cute little thumbs up icon calling your name, bidding you to Like the site. Why not like it? It’s your favorite watering hole. You would recommend it to any of your friends, and you often do.
Originally, the Like button was created to send tiny, buried notifications about third party websites back to your Facebook profile. Let’s face it, no one frequently checks their friends’ profiles. (Amateur stalkers respectfully excluded.) Later, Facebook upped the ante and made the Like button even more appealing by publishing more information directly onto your News Feed if you Liked it. Now when you Like your favorite happy hour spot, all of your Facebook friends can see the restaurant name, Web address, photo and short description. Of course, they too can Like this establishment or comment about the fact that you’re a total lush.
Nonetheless, the Like button is ultra-satisfying, both from a consumer and marketer’s standpoint. I’m just gonna lay it out there by saying if the Like button is wrong, then I don’t want to be right! Yes, I said it. I’m hoping that if you agree, if you learned something, or if you were just amused in the slightest, you’ll click the Like button below. And if you didn’t like it, hit that Like button anyway just to get your daily fix. Come on. The first one’s free.