Join 3,495 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Be the first of your friends to like us on Facebook!
February 22, 2011 2:13 PM   Subscribe

"Unlike the link ... likes are arguably easier to create. Moreover, they are explicit endorsements rather than implicit ones. Therefore, they carry more weight once they are pulled through the lens of our friends. More so than links, this new network of signals allows content to find you, rather than you having to go find it. The rise of likes, just as links before it, will create all kinds of new businesses. And we're just getting started." Are likes poised to replace links as the Web's primary signal? Then again, it just might be getting out of hand.
posted by bayani (47 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
idiotic for myriad reasons
posted by p3on at 2:19 PM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


terminology for web-facing endorsements needs to be altered, we're weirding "friend" and "like" in unacceptable ways, not to mention that signals will always be skeweb because there's rarely any e.g. "dislike" signal to send thanks to the crass corporatist nature of the modern internet.
posted by boo_radley at 2:19 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm proud to say that I have never, ever, ever even hovered my cursor over any "like" button or icon. Nasty little things. Like roaches, except they don't scurry away when the light come on.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:19 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


It may seem improbable now but history is filled with metaphors.

For example, no one in the 1970s could have ever imagined a day when homes would be built without rooftop TV antennas.


?
posted by Iridic at 2:20 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


and in any case, I propose we run Steve Rubel, SVP, Director of Insights for Edelman Digital, a division of Edelman - the world's largest public relations firm, through a fine mesh strainer.
posted by boo_radley at 2:20 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Favorited.
posted by lantius at 2:22 PM on February 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


I actually think it's credible that social media will grow to serve not only as a kind of glorified RSS feed and electronic word-of-mouth, and actually provide a basis for augmented search... in some domains. It has real limits which mean it's unlikely to replace algorithms like Google's.

Not to mention the fact that to the extent likes are easy to create, they'll be easy to game, just like links are.
posted by weston at 2:23 PM on February 22, 2011


boo_radley: there's rarely any e.g. "dislike" signal

This irks me too. I'd love to have three options, actually!
posted by bayani at 2:24 PM on February 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


It may seem improbable now but history is filled with metaphors.

For example, no one in the 1970s could have ever imagined a day when homes would be built without rooftop TV antennas.

?


Of course they are using the rarer meaning of metaphor; A portmanteau of metal and semaphore describing a metallic device for capturing signals.
posted by Babblesort at 2:25 PM on February 22, 2011 [15 favorites]


"Likes" will never replace links because Facebook encourages bullshit payola schemes like this.

I was just talking about this today with pb -- I can't leave a comment on a page of Facebook without liking it first and businesses are encouraged to give coupons away to people that like them, the whole thing is such bullshit and undermines if anyone actually truly "likes" something.

Imagine if Yelp rewarded fake reviews like Facebook rewards fake likes, I think the whole service would be on the brink of uselessness.
posted by mathowie at 2:27 PM on February 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


we're weirding "friend" and "like" in unacceptable ways, not to mention that signals will always be skeweb because there's rarely any e.g. "dislike" signal to send thanks to the crass corporatist nature of the modern internet.

I agree, but I think this battle was lost when Livejournal used the term friends for blog subscribers and Facebook adopted it (I'm assuming that they cribbed it from LJ, but I could be wrong).
posted by longdaysjourney at 2:29 PM on February 22, 2011


"Dislike" is no longer around. We have "troll" instead.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:32 PM on February 22, 2011


This is as fucktabulo-bizarre as all those predictions about social media websites replacing search engines. Really? Fucking really? Okay, try using the internet solely through social media sites and stop using search engines. See how far that gets you.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:35 PM on February 22, 2011


"Likes" hold up one of the walls of Facebook's walled garden. The absence of "Dislikes" or other downvoting is also an important reason Facebook is worth tens of billions of dollars to Wall Street and Digg and Reddit are not. (And MetaFilter's integrity obviously makes its market value $19.95 plus Oregon sales tax)
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:36 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, SO FUCKING TIRED of those social media toolbars on every damn website. It's like the new banner ads. This has gotten way, way, way fucking out of hand.

I mean, check out this Slate article and the mindfuckingly awful social media banner at the top that you can't even collapse. What the hell?
posted by Afroblanco at 2:37 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, I avoid "liking" things outside facebook, so I think this is ridiculous. But I also said email giving way to "facebook me" was stupid, and that's honestly become the way I communicate with most my friends.
posted by toekneebullard at 2:42 PM on February 22, 2011


Afroblanco, you want Stylebot for Chrome - a little extension that lets you highlight regions on a site's page and alter or hide them. Also, you can share them with other users. Ever since I installed it life has been so much more pleasant; for example, I no longer have to see comments on newspaper articles. This alone would be enough reason to recommend it, but since it smoothly removes almost any kind of website cruft I'd go so far as to say it's a must-have.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:46 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problem with using this as a signal for search is that the set of things most people publically "Like" is only a small subset of the things they actually "like".
posted by rh at 2:47 PM on February 22, 2011


rh: The problem with using this as a signal for search is that the set of things most people publically "Like" is only a small subset of the things they actually "like".

Undoubtedly. But it's only a matter of time before a niche industry emerges with competing algorithms to determine your actual "likes" from your public "likes" and sell them back to you, Google-style.
posted by bayani at 2:54 PM on February 22, 2011


Imagine if Yelp rewarded fake reviews like Facebook rewards fake likes, I think the whole service would be on the brink of uselessness.

and, from the article

"Moreover, they are explicit endorsements rather than implicit ones. "

The author and mathowie both seem to view likes as a literal "I like this.", which is interesting to me in a few different ways.

As a college student, I "like" something because I get something out of it. For example, I "like" a design site so that I can get updates in my newsfeed, much like an RSS feed. I also "like" a shopping site because I got a coupon code, but I then immediately unliked it, because I got what I wanted out of that transaction.

Because of this transaction taking place, I've always viewed "like" as a bit of a misnomer. While "likes" are (usually) a good indication of popularity, I don't think it's supposed to hold any indication of quality. Perhaps it's like Google in this regard - often, people see a top result as being a good quality site, when really it just means it has bunch of links. While links often do mean quality, they don't have to.

I'm also interested in this from a marketing standpoint. I recently started work at an ecommerce site, and we regularly do goofy things to get you "like" us. We'll do coupon codes mainly, but also free stuff and a few other random things. We're doing this not for the "likes", per se, but rather for the relationship that creates. Once you "like" us, you see our updates, and that's just as good as paying for an ad on the side of Facebook. Next time you need $product, you're already thinking of us.


Honestly, besides seeing "like" as a misnomer, I've really seen it as a kind of newspeak, and I guess it's working. I don't actually like Blockbuster Express all that much, but I'll certainly "like" it for a free rental. All of a sudden though that relationship has been co-opted into a positive endorsement, which certainly isn't my intention in getting a coupon code. Maybe we just need a greasemonkey script to replace "like" with "connected".
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:05 PM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


News flash, Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug. This marketing drivel is exactly what is wrong with this kind of garbage. What's needed is not some "new script"; but instead the systemic trashing by the public of the scumbag marketers busily corrupting every single human action with this filthy, disgusting, commercialization mania.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:19 PM on February 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Don't hold back-- tell us how you really feel, PareidoliaticBoy.
posted by dersins at 3:21 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like Likes. They're less serious than a Share and let me document my Internetting to all my Facebook friends.
I love Liking/Favoriting comments, both on FB and here. It's such an elegant way of expressing agreement
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:23 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Come to think of it why dosen't Metafilter have Like buttons? Oh right... the angry I don't own TV/use Facebook brigade
Likes allow me to curate content for my friends the same way MeFi does
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:27 PM on February 22, 2011


👍 The Lurkers Support Me in Email and 2 others like this.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 3:30 PM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


there's rarely any e.g. "dislike" signal

Actually, you've already discovered the dislike signal: comments. Those are slanted overwhelmingly negative. I like having "likes" to push the slant in the other direction.
posted by John Cohen at 3:30 PM on February 22, 2011


Is this something that I'd have to unblock JavaScript from *.facebook.com to understand?
posted by indubitable at 3:33 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Really? Fucking really? Okay, try using the internet solely through social media sites and stop using search engines. See how far that gets you.

I may be out of touch on this given that I don't even have a smartphone that keeps me hooked into the Facebook vampire 24/7/365, but I have a feeling that there's a strong intersection somewhere between the group of narcissistic douchebags whose internet experience really is defined almost entirely by social media sites, and people who keep blogs that write about these topics and manage to get them on MetaFilter, Slashdot, et al.
posted by indubitable at 3:40 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just feel bad for the kids of today, who have to contend with a whole new layer of liking. "Do you like me...or like me like me, or like me like me like me?"
posted by Pants McCracky at 3:53 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Okay, try using the internet solely through social media sites and stop using search engines. See how far that gets you.

I did exactly the reverse today on a work laptop and found myself surprisingly feeling lighter some how. It also helped me note taht when I checked a site or two using phone during a smoke break it was more from the point of view of seeking if anyone had posted anything relevant to my days work.

Note: I didn't say I was any less or any more productive per se
posted by infini at 3:57 PM on February 22, 2011


The problem is the single button (maybe there are two buttons: "like" and "leave a comment"). But I need several more: "agree", "disagree", "bookmark", "promote", "flag as inappropriate", "misuse of apostrophe", and "sympathy without comment", just for starters.
That single button is being overwhelmingly used for "indicate to your social network that you want to receive information from us" and being called "like".
posted by Prince_of_Cups at 3:58 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would prefer a single "I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter" button.
posted by Pants McCracky at 4:00 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


i do not want content to find me. in vain i seek the 'shut the fuck up' button.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 4:09 PM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Like farms and friendbots are an inevitability.
posted by yesster at 4:21 PM on February 22, 2011


Because of this transaction taking place, I've always viewed "like" as a bit of a misnomer.

Some of us use them as bookmarks!
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:24 PM on February 22, 2011


(likes PareidoliaticBoy)
posted by flabdablet at 4:32 PM on February 22, 2011


Metafilter: I avoid "liking" things outside facebook, so I think this is ridiculous.
posted by mannequito at 5:16 PM on February 22, 2011


Okay, try using the internet solely through social media sites and stop using search engines. See how far that gets you.

I could probably get pretty far, since most of the websites I like and bands I visit are on Facebook and Twitter. Plus most of what I use the Internet for is social, so Facebook is perfect.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:26 PM on February 22, 2011


Also, does Metafilter count as a social networking site? 'cause on Facebook i post links, and people discuss them....
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:28 PM on February 22, 2011


Metafilter is a square in ancient Rome. We loiter, beg and occasionally drag in soap boxes. *rummages for sand bags*
posted by infini at 5:49 PM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: Also, does Metafilter count as a social networking site?

I would think so ... you can link to other users via the profiles, although I haven't been around on MeFi long enough to see how extensively that feature is being used.
posted by bayani at 5:53 PM on February 22, 2011


I love the irony of Metafilter's general anti-Facebook, anti-social networking stance, despite the fact that under pretty much any definition, Metafilter qualities as the latter. The main difference between here and Facebook seems to be that Mefites prefer talking about themselves over posting pictures of themselves.
posted by decoherence at 6:42 PM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love the irony of Metafilter's general anti-Facebook, anti-social networking stance, despite the fact that under pretty much any definition, Metafilter qualities as the latter. The main difference between here and Facebook seems to be that Mefites prefer talking about themselves over posting pictures of themselves.
posted by decoherence


But on facebook, it's all about ME. Here, it's about the topic or the community. Metafilter isn't anti-social networking. It's anti-self-promotion.
posted by yesster at 7:53 PM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


The main difference between here and Facebook seems to be that Mefites prefer talking about themselves over posting pictures of themselves.

Also, that whole thing about how our activities here aren't sold directly to marketing companies.
posted by odinsdream at 8:09 PM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


when Livejournal used the term friends for blog subscriber

My inner tech writer hates that and she abhors "like" too, for the same reason. Do not confuse my interest in reading (about) you and/or your product for a personal relationship, especially not if you're a product.
posted by immlass at 8:24 PM on February 22, 2011


I wonder if people like Steve Rubel and other self-declared techno-prophets suffer from kind of neurological defect that causes them to draw totally random parallels between different things an declare that one thing is going to totally replace other things that are totally different, just because the old thing was popular and now the new thing is popular.

I keep hearing people say that 'social' is going to replace 'search' and really it makes almost no sense at all. Except that when you realize that they are talking about the situation from the perspective of someone trying to do SEO or monger traffic without any regard for whether or not people are actually helped by that traffic. Search drives a lot of traffic but "social" (why bother distinguishing between different social media? Just call it all 'social') is now also a traffic driver.

So we need to figure out how to game "social"! Just like how we game search now! The question they are trying to figure out is how they can subvert and contaminate this new eCyber-social-enviroscape with useless marketing B.S.

What's great for them is that unlike Google, who apparently seems to have some kind of interest in doing it's job well for the searcher, and not really caring about the SEO's life facebook seems to view the contaminator as their primary demographic. They understand that there's a lot of money to be made with all this traffic and are happy to work with the scumbags.

So that's why "Social" is replacing "Search". Thanks to facebook's views compared to google's, it's much easier to monetize.
posted by delmoi at 9:47 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I simply cannot get a gig anymore that doesn't involve a client begging me to add a like button, a twitter link, a facebook link, and optimize their site for Google. There's just no way around it. Personally, I blame articles like this. People want to market for free and this is the laziest way to do it.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:33 AM on February 23, 2011


« Older Binyavanga Wainaina remembers one night in the Ken...  |  In Capitalism for the Long Ter... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments