I’ve heard it said that Facebook needs a “dislike” button.
I don’t know much about the corporate culture at Facebook, but at Apple we wouldn’t have gone for this, not out of some bias toward positivity, but because it’s complicated. It adds another button to the UI. Apple doesn’t add buttons to solve problems. It removes them.
What’s really needed is a single button that does both jobs.
As it’s election season in the US and my news feed is flooded with one-sided political rants, I think it’s time to ask Facebook to adopt my suggestion for a single more versatile button:
You think Romney’s grasp of geography is deeply concerning? This confirms your existing opinions. You think Obama only knows how to find Syria because he went there on his apology tour? BAM. Opinions confirmed. You think these two positions are in any way equivalent? Click the button: it was made for you too. You think politics is dumb? Clicketty click. There’s a button for you.
We could probably simplify it a bit. Change the thumbs up/down to some rolling eyes and shorten the text to “heh”, and we’ve got a significant functional improvement, giving people the chance to interact, no matter what they think, without actually communicating any of the dumb opinions we don’t want to hear anyway.
Everyone’s a winner.
Funny entry, but isn’t the like button already doing the work that means, “this confirms what I believe”? Facebook is not a platform for discussions but to form affinity with others. Most interactions can be reduced to something like, “You like cute puppies? I like cute puppies!” Since this is a political year and American politics are driven by your tribe, the same inane communication happens, “You like Obama? I like Obama!”
Facebook is a place where we go to have small talk. Just like face-to-face small talk, Facebook is a terrible information exchanging system. But that is not the point. The point is to feel connected to people. And I believe that people at Facebook understand this. Their reluctance to add the “dislike”, “meh”, “sucks”, “rolling eyes” button is because these buttons would destroy that good feeling of connecting with others.
Fortunately, if someone really drives you crazy you can hide their posts. I have done so. If you feel the need to communicate your annoyance, there are comments. And if your feed is just way too annoying, you can always stop using Facebook until the election and its aftermath is over.