Facebook today commemorates the one-year anniverary of the like button, and is asking members what the button means to them. We think the icon and the act of clicking on it have become so ubiquitous and natural that it’s actually hard to believe they haven’t been around a lot longer.
We couldn’t help noticing how Facebook communciations folks have left out the quotation marks surrounding the word. We hope that’s intentional on Facebook’s part.
Quotes denote something tentative or used in a way other than the dictionary intends. With 10,000 sites adding that button every day and millions of people clicking them daily, there’s nothing tentative or abstract about using a like button. Liking pages, brands, comments, articles, songs and videos involves a click on a mouse, a very concrete action.
Most publishing types wait for a dictionary or other reference book to formally declare a change in punctuation before embracing, but we don’t recall seeing this issue in the press release for the 2011 edition of the Associated Press Stylebook. Instead, consider this post a polite request to the editors of said bible to update its rules.
Steering things back to the subject of Facebook’s like icon, we’ve noticed that within 26 minutes of the site posting about the one-year anniversary, 36,303 people have liked that post. Some 4,948 have written comments and a number of them demand an unlike button.
We know that option won’t fly with advertisers, but it’s occurred to us that heavy demand for an unlike button screams for a third party developer to code an extension of it — unless Facebook’s publicly available application programming interface for the like includes some kind of blockage on anyone creating an unlike plugin.
Readers, what would you say the like button has come to mean for you?