Internal documents propose that users can become a fan by just clicking “like”, as opposed to “become a fan”.  Their documents, read them here, note that saying “like” is a light-weight method of expressing interest.  BlitzMetrics’s take is that this will cause several things to happen:

  • Users (I was about to call them “fans”) will be confused as to whether they are liking something or actually joining a Fan page.  If  Facebook is going to change the language to like, then they should also call a Fan Page a “Like” Page, which would devolve Fan pages into the old Facebook Groups– for when people want to hit thumbs up on a clever slogan.  In effect, a fan page becomes more like a bumper sticker popularity contest than a real business presence or one of deeper engagement.
  • In a “twitter-esque” move, Facebook is trading volume of interaction with depth of interaction.  This is the “light-weight” engagement they mention. We believe that this will increase traffic over the long run and reflect the aim of a social network to be casual conversation.  Increased interaction is great from a search engine and investor valuation standpoint– it allows Facebook to show greater numbers, since the bar is lower to become a fan. This is somewhat similar to Twitter announcing they have just crossed 10 billion tweets– who cares how many of these are real (by humans versus robots) or how many were even seen by a human.  The point is to show large numbers.  Remember the search engine wars on how many pages each had indexed?
  • Facebook will be able to sell engagement more broadly: Albeit, the engagement is in the form of someone clicking on a button, as opposed to interacting at a deeper level.  Advertisers may not realize this change, which will allow an interim bump in earnings. From an optics standpoint– wouldn’t you want to increase your fan count, even if you have to change your language to say that “X number of people liked my page” instead of “X number of people are fans of my page”?

Hat tip to Nick O’Neill and curious to see what other Facebook advertisers think of this.  If a fan might have been worth 50 cents to you before, what’s it worth now?