Facebook Meets Goldilocks and the Three Bears 4


image from www.silverbearcafe.comYou know the story of Goldilocks. She tried papa bear's bed and it was too hard, then mama bear's bed and it was too soft, and then baby bear's bed, which was just right. 

Well, we need a "just right" solution for Facebook Pages. You know, they used to be known as Fan Pages. I understand the etiology. They were originally designed to feature people who were "personalities." At least, that's what I surmise. In that case, the term "fan" was a useful fit. 

Then, along came businesses and they created similar pages. Suddenly, the term "fan" seemed less appropriate. Like papa bear's bed, it was too strong a term, one descriptive of only the most ardent admirers of a brand. 

What of the rest of us who may have positive feelings about the company, but who could hardly qualify as a fan?

Facebook then took the opposite tack and omitted the term fan in favor of "Like." Now, we get to "like" a page. While that does serve the rest of us to some extent, in my view it seems too insufficient (think mama bear's bed). Too light and airy. To merely "like" something places little demand on someone to express any real commitment. That's especially true consider the way Facebook's technology works. 

By that I mean I can incorporate the Like button on my website, then people can click it and become a "fan" all without ever leaving my site. By fashioning the application in that way, Facebook makes it very, um, "likely" that I will seldom if ever visit the actual page.  

There needs to be a term that is situated somewhere between the ardor required of a fan and the passive
"hat tip" expression of appreciation denoted by the term "like." Otherwise, what's the use of having such a page anyway, if no one is ever visits it? 

So, what should that term be? 

LinkedIn has borrowed from Twitter's playbook and is using the term "follow," which is something I can do both to fellow group members or to companies via their profiles, which is LinkedIn's somewhat stodgy version of a fan like page. 

In Facebook's case, that would seem too obvious a pillaging of Twitter's vocabulary. LinkedIn can get away with it because no one takes their attempts at mimicking Twitter/Facebook that seriously (my opinion). 

So, again, what should the term be? (That's not a rhetorical question.) What term sits between liking something and loving it? If it has to coincide with a certain degree of commitment to a brand, how much should be expected? Can we have different levels of approbation? Can some people be fans, while others merely like the brand? Or, is it all just much ado about nothing? 

Honestly, from a brand's perspective, why have a page if I have to spend all my time getting people to visit or interact with it? Except for the fact that Facebook mandates a business have such a page. It does seem these pages are better suited to certain types of businesses than others. But, that's an issue for another day. 

I'll ask it yet again…what's the "just right" name for a Facebook Page? 


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4 thoughts on “Facebook Meets Goldilocks and the Three Bears

  • Tom Lyons

    When I "like" a page on fb, I am actually following the news from that page so I do like "follow". In my mind, FB differentiates itself by having a more robust platform for content.

  • Ari Herzog

    Why is it important for you to use Facebook's changing terminology and not what you want to call it? A person creates a profile that requires mutual friendship for connections to work. That person can create a page that anyone can join as a fan. It shouldn't matter that pages are called "likes" and fans are called "people who click the like button." It's still the same thing, no?

  • Paul Chaney

    No. Words carry meaning apart from that which we ascribe. "Fan" carries a different connotation than "like." And, since these are terms in use by Facebook itself, they are part of its official platform vocabulary and taxonomy. I feel one is too strong, and the other too weak. I wish I had a good alternative that hit the middle ground.

  • ReputationManagement

    I agree with how social media is really becoming a huge thing. And it is important for businesses to recognize this new trend in marketing. However, we still need to be careful as it may end up blowing in our face if we don't know how to use it to our advantage.