Published 21 July 2011
The world of social media is generally a pretty friendly one. It’s full of terms such as like, follow, share, friends and +1. A typical day sees birthday wishes being sent, congratulations being offered, interest being shown in other people’s lives, long-lost friends reconnecting…
But that isn’t a true representation of human nature. We can be a negative, sceptical, miserable bunch. We like to complain. We like to criticise. We like a moan.
Some of our social media caters for this. Twitter is often used to vent one’s spleen and Trip Adviser relies on negative as much as positive comments.
So why do the ‘social networks’ not address this issue. Facebook has a ‘like’ option and a subsequent ‘unlike’ button; but the latter just takes the user back to a neutral position. Google’s +1 is pretty much the same: I can give something a +1 rating or make it unrated; I can’t give anything a -1.
If we are unhappy with a company or site, shouldn’t we be looking to ‘dislike’ and ‘-1’ them? This would also help to clearly differentiate unpopular sites from those that just have low usage; for example, currently, it’s impossible to know if a small number of ‘likes’ is due to unpopularity or because it is a new site or has few visitors.
Although Google could easily add a -1 button (as +1 is found on Google search results), would you choose to add a ‘dislike’ option next to the ‘like’ button on your site? At first you might think it madness, but maybe not for companies who are genuinely listening to their customers and prepared to hear what people think of them. How impressed would you be in a site that had 12,349 likes and 4 dislikes? Wouldn’t it encourage you to use it more than if it just had 12,349 likes?
So, come on Facebook and Google: jump off the fence and give us the chance to get an honest picture of what users think.