Dislikes would be more valuable than Likes

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In February 2009, Facebook introduced us to the concept of Like’s. The Like is simply an informal recommendation for just about anything. Music, news, products, etc . . . anything you want to attach it to. Businesses have tried to put a value on Likes with a recent estimate of $3.60 per Like (and $136.38 annually for each Fan). I’m not sure I’ve ever Liked anything and I’m also painfully aware that I’m most likely not the target market to use this mechanism. Likes make you a conduit. Twitter is my mechanism for being a conduit.

I’m also painfully aware that having people share things they do NOT like can be more valuable for a couple of reasons.

  1. Many times it’s easier to spot things you don’t like. Think of trying to decide what you’d like for dinner tonight. If my wife gives me the “I don’t know” look, I quickly ask what she knows she doesn’t want. That helps narrow it down pretty quickly.
  2. Facebook’s deeper reason for enabling Likes, Shares and Sends is to get to the heart of sentiment. This is the promise of social media. Now, think about someone receiving an ad that does not match any of their criteria for a valuable ad. Depending on the situation, the user may actually be angered by receiving the ad. Especially if it’s to their smartphone. (This is a mid-term scenario, but let’s just follow it through.) If the user had Disliked the type of product or service before receiving the ad, Facebook would know not to send it to them. People have less of an emotional response to something that is “almost right” than something that touches on a product/service they hate.

The Dislike is not to be confused with being a troll and would add a certain level of transparency that social networks don’t currently embrace. (I also think LinkedIn should have a warning wall. “If ever get a chance to work with <insert name here>: don’t.”) The Dislike button would also allow businesses to reach out to customers and find out why their product/service is not favored. Good for research.

I’m not sure Facebook (or LinkedIn) will ever do this as it leads them down the path of libel but it would make for a more honest social network. Maybe more of an anti-social network?

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I am an Associate Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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