Talking tech since 2003

Who would have thought that Facebook’s change in terminology from “Become a Fan” to “Like” would have caused such controversy?  Only a matter of days  after the change took place, there are large Facebook fan community pages voicing people’s desire for Facebook to reverse this modification and revert back to the “Become a Fan” terminology.  Two examples of said groups are “WTFF , it changed from ‘become a fan’ to ‘like’ ?“, which at the time of writing has just under twenty thousand fans, and “‘Like’ this if you’d rather ‘Become a Fan’ of it”, which currently has just over nine-hundred thousand fans.

Admittedly, I myself was originally somewhat (but not very) disappointed with Facebook’s change in terminology, however in the last few days I have grown more and more accepting of the new terminology, and the additional functionality that it brings along with it.  For example, with the new “like” button, paired with Facebook’s revently revamped “connect” service, a user is able to like a specific page or article on a website, and not necessarily the website or organization itself.  In the example below, Jeff “liked” an article featured on TechCrunch.  In doing so, he shared said article with his Facebook friends, and gave them more precise detail as to what exactly it was that he liked, as apposed to simply who published what he liked.

Additionally, evaluating the word “like” as being something that someone finds enjoyable or agreeable, one can come to the conclusion that “liking” doesn’t imply the same level of care or devotion as something that someone would “become a fan” of.  Further, this means that it would be more acceptable for someone to “like” a bunch of pages than it would be for them to “become a fan” of something.  Further, this shows that Facebook is making certain adaptations to conform to what their users are doing; and more and more recently, it seems that people have been arguably overusing the “become a fan feature”.

When it’s all said and done, I personally appreciate Facebook’s change in terminology, as it in a sense opens the doors for them to expand, and ultimately foreshadows them making further improvements in the Facebook Connect service.  This is something that I’m anxious to see the results on, as this simple change in terminology may have been the first step towards making the Internet a much more open, uniform, and integrated place.

Keeping in mind the justifications for the terminology change, as well as the history of Facebook users coming to accept theme and layout changes, I believe that many people will become more and more accepting of the “like” button as time goes on.  Will you?

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