It’s now hit mainstream that Facebook are considering replacing “Fan Pages” with “Pages you Like”.
I’d heard whispers of this last week and I think that if Facebook’s motivation is financial, then it’s brilliant. As for whether it’s best for users of Facebook, I’m still yet to discern.
I think that the language around Fan Pages is particularly pertinent in Australia – and not just to do with a possible cultural rejection of ‘Fan': an Americanism which hasn’t really taken off in Australia (or, at least, with the peeps I know.)
Where I think the shift from ‘Fan’ to ‘Like’ will have its greatest impact is how we associate the level of commitment.
In Australia we like micro-commitments. It’s that simple. And this isn’t just our fave “Like” button – I mean in everyday life. We make things out to be less of a big deal than they might actually be. “A spot of rain” could easily be a flash flood, and “we did orright in the cricket” means we flogged the English in the Ashes (again).
I think this is important because it means as a culture we’re less likely to embrace being an evangelist of a brand. Being a “Fan” of something would, to me, very much imply being an evangelist. I think in Australia we’d be far more likey to say “This brand is pretty good” rather than “I am a Fan of this brand” – even if we would be considered brand evangelists.
I think the shift to “Liking a Page” will have a huge impact in Australia. Brands will get far greater numbers of people “Liking a Page” now that it’s just a micro-commitment (or “Yeah, it’s pretty good”.)
What does this mean for Facebook? Well, simply, Brands will have a far better experience. They will get hundreds, if not thousands of more “Fans” to individual pages, brands will be more likely to get on Facebook if they aren’t already, and more likely to pour money into Facebook advertising. If changing the lexicon of a Fan Page is a financial move by Facebook, I’d say it has hit the Aussie audience in the right spot.
And considering Aussies use social media the most, as an audience on Facebook, we’re pretty important.
But how will it impact on general users of Facebook? Will there be so many people just generally “liking” a whole lot of Pages that the stuff they love can’t be told apart from the stuff they like? What about brand evangelists? Will Pages have a rating system one day so people can say how much they like a page? … Or will it just not matter anymore? Maybe Social Bookmarking will take the fore and users can nominate their favourite products in new ways?
I’d be interested to see how the news of ‘Liking This Page’ has impacted other cultures? Has it made an impact?
I think for Australian culture, at least, it’s a very clever move by Facebook.
Keep it real, guys.
Stuff to back up my wild claims: