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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: April 25, 2011 @ 11:14 am

    Facebook ‘Like’ button is a year old. (Like)

    Ciara O'Brien

    Hasn’t time flown? A year ago, Facebook introduced the web ‘Like’ button, and added a new element to social networking: collective back-patting. Web-wide.

    But now, is it it time that they took it one step further, and added a ‘Dislike’ button?

    You could argue that it’s only fair after all, plus it would solve all those awkward status updates where you don’t really like it but you don’t have the time or the inclination to take the time to comment to agree or disagree.

    You know the ones. “XXXXX has to work today. On a bank holiday. Alone.”

    Only the cruel would “like” that status and actually mean they’re happy the person involved is actually working on a day when most of us are still lounging bed and laughing at the alarm clock.

    And that’s a run of the mill example. Failbook and Lamebook are full of examples of statuses that are inexplicably “liked”. The ones where they’re complaining of parents walking in on them at an awkward moment. Or perhaps when you’re informing your friends list of how you wrote off your car in a freak accident involving a badger, a crisp packet and a paperclip at 5km an hour.

    Either way, the “like” button just doesn’t cut it.

    But imagine Facebook with a “dislike” button. All those status updates that say only 7 per cent of people will repost a supportive message, or informing you that this week is the for mothers/fathers/grandparents/strangers in the street? Dislike.

    Persistant vaguebooking offenders? Dislike.

    The warnings about events that are either rumours that got way out of control, or things that happened 10 months ago? Dislike.

    Constant self-promotion appearing in your newsfeed? Dislike.

    The possibilities are endless. And that’s probably why we won’t see it happen. Any “dislike” button could, like any other feature, be abused.

    Recent research already linked Facebook with depression. Could you imagine the rejection 10 “dislikes” on a status update would inspire? And with Facebook and other social networking sites already the focus of anti-bullying campaigns already, it’s inevitable that any sort of negative feedback option for statuses and posts would simply intensify this.

    So for now, we’ll have to content ourselves with the “hide posts from this user” option for the worst offenders. And avoid “liking” those awkward status updates.

    UPDATED: to clarify – the web ‘Like’ button is a year old.

    • Kate says:

      Isn’t the Like button at least two years old? I remember someone telling me when the new Twitter-like news feed was introduced in early 2009 that he believed the Like button would be used more often.

    • The like button was introduced in 2010, replacing the “become a fan” function.

    • Fintan says:

      No Ciara, Kate is right. The ‘Like’ button, for status updates, wall posts etc. i.e the collective back-slapping your article refers to, is more than a year old. It predates the change of ‘become a fan of’ to ‘Like’.

    • Updated to clarify web “like” button. Because I’m an idiot.

    • mister potato says:

      On Facebook you can ‘like’ something and then decide that you no longer ‘like’ it and then choose to ‘unlike’ it.

      In English, at least when I was growing up, ‘unlike’ meant that something is not the same as something else, or as Sesame Street had it “one of these things is not like the other, one of these things is not quite the same…”

      But Facebook has taken a perfectly good word and given it a completely different meaning.
      Now instead of meaning ‘dissimilar’ unlike means “I used to like this, but now I don’t like it anymore”.
      Maybe they could coin a new word – how about ‘delike’?