The Future of the Facebook Like Button

I hit the like button on pages all the time.  I like your picture.  I like the fact you had fun on your vacation. It doesn’t mean I want to get into a long involved conversation or see all your vacation pictures.

I like the jeans you are selling on your website . I like them because I already own a pair.  I am not giving you permission to contact me and try to sell me something or to suggest to my friends that they should buy them because I like them.

I like the book you just read. I would like to buy a copy. It would save me time if by liking this book someone would contact me from Amazon with a link to quickly allow me to buy it.

“Liking” something can have any number of meanings.  Unless FB comes up with a solution for the problems caused by the misinterpretation of these meanings, the Like button will quickly become a nuisance.

So whats the solution ?


Let us click on the Like button until the color and meaning we agree with shows up.

A green like button with the word (BUY) next to it would send a message to the website to send me a link to allow me to buy it now

A yellow like button with the word (Info) next to it would send a message to the website to send me general information

A red like button with the word (Stop) could send the message to leave me alone. I just wanted to say I liked it.

There are lots of colors that can offer lots of different action/non action suggestions.  Cycling through them when you click the like button would be easy. Sending the appropriate information to a monitoring program would be easy.

It’s the Like 2.o solution .

And while FB is at it, can we do the same thing for Poke…..


41 thoughts on “The Future of the Facebook Like Button

  1. Facebook is getting annoying.

    something better here –

    Comment by applebon -

  2. How are you, I encountered this website by accident when I was searching on Google then I came onto your web site. I have to tell you that your site is interesting I just love the theme! At this moment about on the future of the facebook like button.
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    Comment by tomparling16 -

  3. Mark-

    First of all, very cool appearance on Entourage. I agree with a lot of what you mention in this post. It seems many sites, both ecommerce and media sites such as magazine sites and blogs have too many buttons that can drive a user crazy and drive them out of the site itself, but as long as its been shared, web owners are happy.

    Look at Mashable, the #1 social media news site, has 40 buttons to share and looks very mushy. What do you think about the Tweet button? It’s obviously not the same as the like button but performs a similar action.

    As a website owner, of blogs and ecommerce websites, these buttons are free distribution of content, but I see what it can be ‘annoying’ you may say as a user.

    I think the internet itself and the public will direct the future of these buttons/widgets with time.


    Comment by Paul -

  4. Can you tell Dirk to stop liking every one of my status updates? Thanks.

    Comment by Dan Hickey '04 -

  5. Mark,

    In regard to providing more options than “like” and “poke”, check out the Facebook application called friend ticket.

    It provides 25 different ways to say “like”, “hate”, etc., all with matching hand gestures.

    Comment by Traffic Lawyer -

  6. The Like Button creates false data. If I want to respond to a group that I am in opposition or disagreement with I first have to “like” the group so that I can be a “fan” of the group before I can comment. This of course is ridiculous but more importantly is creating false data.

    Comment by alessandromachi -

  7. I think what you say is valid. There are more functions to the button than just “like.” However, that is one of the main reasons why it is so popular.

    I think the button would lose it’s value to the end user if other functions were included like – buy, info or stop.

    However, I think a plugin that could be used on wordpress sites would be interesting. Basically, it’s like the “like” button on facebook, but with more features.

    If readers click the new plugin – maybe something like “Simple Facebook 2.0” in wordpress, they could either:
    A. Share the link on facebook or join the page
    B. Info – link to another page within your wordpress blog that has content about that subject – or they could be directed to a search engine that displays the results.
    C. Stop – could mean they don’t like it or they would not recommend it to their friends on facebook. (unlike)


    Comment by ryanmendezstreetball -

  8. Might be good for the user, but for a couple of reasons, I’m not sure that this works to facebook’s advantage. First, adding additional options requires the user to think more, which translates to fewer likes. Second, by making it less ambiguous, they open up the true meaning of a person’s likes to other providers (including google). Because they’re the only company with the ability to analyze likes in conjunction with other behavioral data and with social graph data, they end up with a unique ability to determine the implicit meaning of a person’s like. That’s an incredibly valuable competitive advantage.

    Comment by pamay -

  9. thanky you very much for everything

    Comment by siyahbeyaz34 -

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  11. I agree that the like button needs work, and some of the solutions posted here make a lot of sense. It will be interesting to see what they come up with, since it’s definitely an area that most users would agree needs to be improved.

    Comment by countrysidehomes -

  12. The above thought is smart and doesn’t require any further addition. It’s perfect thought from my side.
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    Comment by johnn09 -

  13. Hey Mark,

    The way I see it Facebook has morphed into a hybrid between a social network (profiles) and user-defined pop culture (pages). On the social network side, the ‘like’ button should stay as an opinion tool. Do you want to buy your friends pic of their vacation? Don’t think so.

    However, lets get the colored like buttons going on the Pages! I think there could be some corporate sponsor opportunities here as well (BestBuy, Ticketmaster, etc.).

    Ex. of a page with a corporate sponsor: You click that you ‘like'(one button only)Dirk Nowitzki. You are then prompted, “Shop Dirk Nowitzki gear at” Green button-> Yes, take me. Red button -> No thanks, not interested.

    Colored ‘like buttons’ could be COOL. props MC.


    Comment by tricia23 -

  14. Mark,

    I think your idea, as per usual, is a great one. Unfortunately, I don’t think Facebook would ever implement anything like this, because their greatest weapon, at least in terms of information gathering, is ambiguity. The average Facebook user is unaware of exactly what it is they’re participating in when they like something. To them, their interpretation of “liking” something is literal.

    I hope the Blogmaverick can be one of the many catalysts that helps to stop these shady practices.

    Comment by goodbadger -

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  16. Why complicate things for users? Mark, do you have time or the desire to cycle through colors just to say you like something?

    Business just need to be smarter and understand that just because someone Likes a product or a piece of content doesn’t mean they want to hear everything about it, constantly

    Comment by coreyo -

  17. I agree about the dislike button, but don’t think it’s going to happen no matter what the members want. The like button seems to have become way overused (and meaningless) lately though. I see a bunch of “click like for a free (or discounted)” whatever promotions. So you click “like” – what does that mean? Do you like it? Not necessarily. It just means that you want a coupon… I think the like button should change, but I just don’t see much happening to make it meaningful.

    Comment by -

  18. One thing FB needs is a dislike or don’t like button, expecially for the pages for businesses. If I want to know about a restaurant or store, I would like to hear both good and bad, not just a “love-fest”.

    Comment by rbaikie -

  19. What color would “I’d like to poke you be”? I think the ambiguity is the point of the poke. It’s stupid but, it is what it is…

    Comment by clbennett15 -

  20. My Two Bits into this, Mark if you read this. The Future of the Facebook like button is the least of anyones concern. But, when the Facebook Powered Cell Phone is going to launch? Just think you can hit the “1” button if you like what you read.

    Comment by thesportssupergenius -

  21. yo i think mark should expand into movies

    Comment by velvetj -

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    Comment by xnmac2010 -

  23. What a brilliant idea. Too bad this post doesn’t have a Like button 🙂

    Comment by traiesceu -

  24. Mark – you bring up a nice feature enhancement idea that would certainly benefit the user, but I think Facebook is more interested in driving “likes” for marketers, and not overcomplicating it. The data implications of a simple “like” button for a network of 500-million-plus members is tremendous (even without a “don’t like” option). It will be interesting to see how Facebook monetizes this data in the future.

    And, if you want to talk about making your brand more “likeable,” I’d welcome the conversation!

    Richard Krueger, Author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies and Facebook Advertising for Dummies

    Comment by rkrueger -

  25. I’m surprised at all of the negativity towards the articles idea. It’s a good idea, why all the complications?

    Comment by alessandromachi -

  26. (don’t know how to edit my previous comment)

    ..and on and on, just hampers the whole process. Nothing drives me crazier than trying to pay someone, and they just make it difficult.

    Comment by dwcbrq -

  27. There is an enormous, untapped market of people who have cash but can’t purchase online.

    – Many people, like myself, have ADD. Logging in and entering numbers is too much to deal with. I would be broke if this was convenient. Pay pal just doesn’t cut it.

    – Many people don’t have credit card access anymore. These people still have cash and pay their bills, with and without bank accounts.

    Purchasing online needs to be easier. This will open up the online market to millions of more people. If someone “likes and wants to buy”, they should be able to just click and buy it, with an option or instruction to take their cash somewhere. Clicking on a link to buy, then to a page, and another, then fill out some fields, then enter your info, and on and on.

    Comment by dwcbrq -

  28. Like should be segmented like you suggest but not with colors. I heard dogs are color blind so if we use the color spectrum, it wouldn’t be fair to the dogs. Would it? Now, I think we could use faces of animals to determine what level of like they liked something. For instance:

    Green = Graphic of a dog w/bone means you really liked it and want to buy the damn thing.

    Yellow = Happy dog w/tongue means you liked it and will accept more info.

    Red = Dog barking means to leave you the hell alone.

    People love animals…FYI: A dog is on the front cover of Time magazine this week. This might be a better solution.

    Comment by entrepreneurdex -

  29. What FB really needs is an “I don’t care about your stupid pictures” button.

    Comment by Jerry -

  30. Well done, Mark.
    Does the other Mark return your emails? 😉

    Comment by danphx64 -

  31. Colors can be Accessibility & Localization issues. Not everyone sees colors. Colors mean different things in different cultures/countries, etc.

    I “like” your concept. I’d just amend it to indicate a few “like options” with text by them, maybe in addition to the colors.

    Comment by Toby Getsch -

  32. Tell us about Poke 2.0, lol

    Comment by Jeff Nabers -

  33. The issue is that Zuckerberg doesn’t care about respecting user wishes. Zuckerberg cares about driving revenue. And while you can contend the ultimate goal of any corporation is to turn a profit, it amazes me the level to which Zuckerberg actively antagonizes his users.

    Comment by enderandrew -

  34. Hi Mark,

    I don’t think they will differentiate the “Like” button, as the reason for its existence is to build a common ground between the users, and differentiating would also lead to some kind of separation.
    A couple of month ago I wrote the following on my blog:

    “It’s a mass dynamic phenomenon that we like people that are alike ourselves. You can use this in marketing: Try to build a common ground among your customers and make sure you scale fast enough to reach a critical mass. Just think about the Facebook example: Ever wondered why there is no “Dislike” button on Facebook? If you participate in the same groups and like the same things, the company can steer you. Not individually, which is a lot harder to establish, but the whole user community instead.”

    For the full post:

    If I was in their shoes, I would leave it the way it is.

    Comment by businessgametime -

  35. was this post another attempt to drive up the sale price of the Texas Rangers to increase your return on the dept you purchased? (genius!)

    Comment by livemusicdallas -

  36. Did you read my response to your last blog? I just wanted to know.


    Comment by mrzonk -

  37. Like (green). I’m “buying” this 100%.

    Comment by dodgrblu -

  38. Fascinating. Ok, so, what you’re saying is, you’ve seen The Social Network, and you don’t like its implications. I can rate this comment, but not your post. I like your blog, to the point where I subscribe, however, lately we’re having divergent opinions on how things should work. Instead of creating a situation where you feel obligated to hit the like button, why not just leave a comment like everyone else? Do you believe you must always hit the like button?

    Comment by Matches Malone -

  39. Don’t have a problem with the Like button, beyond the fact that once you select it, you wind up getting all the subsequent comments people post. “Oh, Mary, lucky you! I love your cabin!” “She’s just so cute!” blah, blah, blah.

    I think the bigger problem is with the banner ads that you initially click, start filling out, then decide not to complete. Doesn’t matter, you are now the target of spam and unwanted phone calls, if you go that far. Thank god for caller i.d. and the bounce feature.

    And, by the way, thanks to all the friends who thought I’d be interested in a free iPad, and left me deluged with spam on health care alternatives.

    Comment by dxkraus -

  40. Like (red).

    Comment by just a guy -

  41. I’m not so sure. FB has gotten pretty far with the binary friend/not-friend categorization of personal relationships. For me, that applies to my wife as well as people I went to grade school with that I haven’t seen or heard from in 20 years.

    What this ambuguity means is that people get a stream of communication that they *may* be interested in, rather than exactly what they want.

    It seems that this ambiguity for posts may also serve FB’s purpose. Why not send ads to everyone who “likes” the jeans rather than just those who explicitly say they want to buy it?

    Comment by johnmcg -

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