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Facebook’s like vs fan button

Facebook’s like vs fan button

I’m not sure I like the ‘Like Button’ on Facebook. Not the one that we click if our mate has updated his status about how brilliant his weekend was, but the one that has replaced the ‘Become a Fan’ button. I used to be a loud and proud fan of pages like Frankie Magazine, Mad Men’s leading man Don Draper, and even cult ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s which has just hit our sunny shores, Ben & Jerry’s Australia. Now I just like them. I don’t love them, I don’t even fancy them … I now just like them, thanks to Facebook.

At last month’s Facebook for Business seminar in Brisbane, Facebook Australia & NZ Vice President of Sales Paul Borrud said Facebook was responding to results that users preferred the ‘like’ button, and felt more comfortable using it. Facebook defines the change  as: “To improve your experience and promote consistency across the site, we’ve changed the language for Pages from “Fan” to “Like.” We believe this change offers you a more light-weight and standard way to connect with people, things and topics in which you are interested.”

This change has had a mixed reaction in the market and social media analysts have been to town on their thoughts too. It might sound somewhat banal that a language change on a social media site can rouse so much comment, but in a world where Facebook could in fact be counted as the third largest country, if it was one, it’s pretty serious stuff. Social Media blog Mashable asked 5500 people their preference during a 5-day poll, resulting in the fan button scoring 3161 fans (like what I’ve done there?!)  vs 1634 people who liked the like button.

In what I believe is a commercial step to help garner more and more numbers clocking up on brand and company’s Facebook pages, and in turn increased viral marketing and no doubt increased ad dollars spent along the way too, it will be interesting to see how well this move results in the coming months. Having used Facebook for personal and business pursuits, I’m still leaning towards the Fan button for its weight and stronger declaration. But who knows maybe I will end up liking the like button.

What are your thoughts?

Yours in design,


Belinda Vesey-Brown About the author
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