Fans vs. like: my Facebook dilemma

When Facebook changed its designation of fans pages to like pages I started thinking about its implications. First of all, it handled my biggest objection to fan pages. I always thought it was quite arrogant for the average person or small business to designate themselves in a way that denoted celebrity. Let's face, it there are just some things you would never agree to be a fan of.  Like seems to handle that nicely. For example, I surely am not a fan of foam insulation, but I might like it.

Then there were other fan pages that made no sense to me. For example did you know that there is a fan page (now a like page) for painful rectal itch? I'm neither a fan nor like painful rectal itch.   We live in a free country so I respect anyone's decision to like painful rectal itch, but it’s not something I like.  Here you can see a screen shot of their "Like" page.

Which brings me to another thought about the like button:  Is like really the right word to use for this?

There are varying degrees of like and if any of you were ever in high school I'm sure you had the conversation about a potential boyfriend or girlfriend. "Does he like me? Or does he like like me?"

That in essence is the biggest problem with the like button in my opinion. I can now see myself looking at a potential purchase or deciding to read a blog post or not based on the fact that several of my friends  “liked” it or not.

It bothers me a bit though.  Did they really like it, or just a little bit? Is being able to designate everything by either liking it or ignoring it diluting the word like?

This doesn't even take in account the many different meanings of the word like.

Per Wikipedia like can and is used as a conjunction “They look like they don't want to go to school”; a verb “I like traveling.”  It can also used to express a feeling of attraction between two people, weaker than love but more than just friends as in  “Marc likes Denise.” It’s used as slang, “So I um like went to the mall” or as an adverb:  meaning "nearly".  Examples: I, like, died!  They, like, hate you!

Regardless, as much as I’m ambivalent about Facebook’s new “like” designation, I have it on all my websites because I know it will help business and truth be told, it is a really a cool application to add to our sites.  What do you think?

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