look. like. want.

Relatively speaking, the Facebook “Like” button has been around for a while. The small and iconic plug-in occupies a significant portion of modern marketing industry thought and influences a great deal of every industry’s marketing strategy. Achieving the ultimate interaction paradigm – see, Like, Share – is a goal for every online blog ever written, product ever promoted or video ever created. It’s the thing that jobs are won and lost over and the thing that gains headlines, market share and new clients – or the thing that loses them.

In recent years, we’ve seen extensions of Facebook’s original “Like” button. Derivatives have spidered out from Mark Zuckerburg’s concept to now serve as prime features on blog feeds, Pinterest, competitor Google+ and more. Now however, Zuckerburg plans to take the “Like” concept another step forward – toward even more greatly enhanced corporate relevancy.

aspirational social sharing

Setting goals for the “stuff” we want is nothing new. As kids we make Christmas lists; as adults we make bucket lists; and now as members of social media communities we pin, post pictures of or share our personal wish lists with the world. The Facebook “Want” button only adds another share option to the aspirational social sharing we’re already performing. We already live in a commoditized society, so it’s no wonder that as Facebook’s stock continues to fall, it has continued to evolve ways to make its platform more appealing to advertisers and investors.

But, does the “Want” button take things too far?

the science of subtlety

Social media results research indicates almost unilaterally that the companies gaining the most from platforms like Facebook do so by utilizing the network in the same way that traditional users do. They share content and voice their social commentary with a personable tone and they aren’t pushy. Heavy-handed sales messages, bland corporate news posts and awkward, me-me-me promotional contests rarely gain ground for the companies who post them, so it should come as no surprise that social sharing, aspirational or not, originally gained momentum because users felt it benefited them. For this reason, marketing analysts predict that adding the “Want” button will be a mistake for Facebook.

From a user perspective, “Want-ing” something is a blatant call-to-action to corporations to market to them – and it’s one that’s easy to pick up on. Consumers already resist pushy “social media” sales pitches for the same reason they may potentially boycott the Want button – it dares to openly commodify them.

The jury is still out on what the overall impact of the Facebook Want button will be, but “The Social Network” desperately needs to discover an update that upgrades the value of their users’ stock before both advertisers and users lose interest.

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