Like it or not, it’s coming.
Facebook are going to introduce a dislike button, positioned as a response to popular demand. Obviously, this has caused a fair bit of discussion and debate about why Facebook has done it, and whether it will mainly be used as a sanitised way for people to tell other people that their latest status is shit.
Actually, we kind of agree with Mr Zuckerberg. Whatever need this button has been officially intended to meet, insults and the like probably (PROBABLY) won’t be how this button is mainly used. After all, a ‘dislike’ is surely only a more succinct version of a negative comment, which has long been a Facebook weapon of choice, and carries the same social consequences. It’s not as if they won’t know it was you.
However, more interesting than whether everyone’s going to be more mean to each other, are the commercial implications and specifically, the opportunities it could create for PR and marketing campaigns. For example, it could open up the possibility of campaigns getting net-negative reactions/interaction, and, naturally, the question of what this means. Would this be a disaster? Or another version of successful brand awareness in line with the tired and true adage ‘all publicity is good publicity’? It could even be that more aggressive, challenger brands might actually court genuinely negative ‘dislikes’ as a part of their campaign strategies – something that would make PR agencies and in-house teams across the land either salivate or shudder depending on their inclination. It could be pretty dang exciting.
Of course, this is just speculation, and until this hyped little button actually appears in all its thumbs-down glory, we don’t really know where it might lead. Like everything else, its PR currency will ultimately be decided once a few brave campaigns step into the breach and try some things. But either way, we reckon it’s less about the insults and more about the ideas that could spring out of it.