When engaging with consumers online and on social media, we have the opportunity to meet and interact with all types of people. In fact, studies show that people tend to be less inhibited when they are on social media or the Internet; having a barrier between themselves and the subject of conversation can do wonders.
Which is why we are totally against Facebook's breakdown to accepting ideas like the "dislike" button.
Our reasoning is similar to our dislike of anonymous comments online.
Human behavior studies suggest, time and time again, that people are much more likely to voice their ideas and opinions when they feel or experience something negative than when they see or experience something positive. If a brand meets your expectations, there's nothing really to share. If a brand fails you in some way, it's time to let everyone know how awful they are.
Facebook will experience a period of increased activity due to a dislike button, but it'll be brief. And it's due to our next reason.
People on social media are moved by social proof. If they see people constantly disliking posts, especially friends, they will try to avoid the online ridicule and post less. People visiting Facebook less will lessen the value Facebook provides to advertising partners. And no one, advertisers or Facebook, would like a decline in value.
Finally, what if users want to use the dislike function on advertising? Though Facebook would try to use its algorithm to make sure users only see things they may like, the formula isn't perfect. If the ads have more dislikes than likes, people seeing the ad for the first time will create a default "knowing" that more people dislike that brand than like it. The brand will suffer. Think an advertiser would like that idea?
Overall, we discourage social media outlets that rely on ad dollars to add any negative element to their offerings, especially if it will ultimately be controlled by the consumer. Unfortunately, negativity rules supreme, and if we want to influence the conversation, let's keep the likes as the only way to really express one's advocacy.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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