Twitter told me today that Facebook is reshaping it’s like button and doing away with the thumb.
Thumbs were developed by apes so we could grasp stuff and poke things. Now they are the emblem of online marketing evolution. Why?
There are many different relationships online. We might be having one now. There is the loving symmetrical one; you are my friend and I’m yours. Hmmm not that one then.
Then there is the cold asymmetrical one. You follow someone on twitter and their tweets pop up on your feed, but their feed remains devoid of your 140 character parcels.
Journalists are in this relationship. It’s the PubSub. They publish, you subscribe.
Facebook is the king of the symmetrical relationship.You can subscribe to people without being mates, but for the most part FB likes give and take. It has some clever algorithms that it uses to thin out the mass of social data flung about on it. This is called edgerank.
Edgerank weighs your relationship with FB content to see what you like to look at. Then it tries to make sure you have more of the stuff you like. Liking, it turns out, is important because it shows a relationship with content from a user.
Brands think that if they whack up a picture of a cow eating snailsand you like it, that FB will shove their next glossy advert in amongst the wadge of status updates and passive-aggressive feline proxy narcissism.
It can work, at least for a while. If the marketing team stops coming up with gems however, brands will quickly fade from the feeds.
FB’s checking up doesn’t stop on it’s own site though.
It is even rumoured that FB might start monitoring your cursor movements as you potter around online. All the better to tailor your adverts. A terrifying Orwellian thought. Why is it less scary when it’s not the government?
That for another post.
So all hail the like button. And think very carefully the next time you think you might like a cat.