Like Button Reveals More Than Friends Realize

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I'm not sure why but I saw this and it made me nervous. I felt I was peaking into a neighbor's window when I landed upon the website. When I wear my marketer's hat (as I did for this Adweek interview) everything seems just fine. But maybe it isn't or maybe it just takes getting used to. Does this worry you? This website is a mashup of "like" button activity among your friends around the Internet. A dashboard of what your friends are finding important and are liking on websites beyond Facebook. 

What makes it unusual is that in those moments of liking something, your friends aren't thinking about who or what else is going to be seeing their actions. And that's the departure from the past. If I "liked" something and then the button switched to "Shiv likes this" versus "liked" we wouldn't have an issue as it would be an obvious reminder that I am publicly liking something versus anonymously. But that's not the case. When you like something, you're not thinking about the hundreds of other people that will be learning about your preferences.

The benefits to marketers is undeniable and as long as companies look at the data in an anonymized fashion that's fine too. But do most people realize that when they're liking something on any website enabled by the like button - it is a public act versus a private one? Facebook isn't doing anything wrong and after all the newsfeed is built on similar functionality. The key difference is that the newfeed is about activity within Facebook where we know whatever we do has a bread crumb trail. Now that philosophy is extending beyond Facebook and it is important that we remember that. Will you please remind your friends?

Follow me on Twitter (@shivsingh) for more insights on digital strategy and social media.


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