Thumbs Up to Facebook's New Thumbs Down

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg caused quite a stir when he announced plans to release a new, so-called "dislike" button on the popular social network. Our lives revolve around social media so much that the mere mention of a new feature sets the digital world a-buzz. What will the button look like and what will they name it? Will they roll it out incrementally or all at once? Will users actually use it? And most importantly for us - how could this "dislike" button affect online communities and our interactions with them? While we don't have all of the details about this new feature, here are some early pros and cons we spotted.

  1. Straw polls just got a whole lot easier. This new button gives your advocates a clear up or down vote on an issue or overall strategy. For example, as you consider your next campaign messaging, your Facebook fans can let you know whether they identify with it or not by choosing between "like" and the new button.
  2. Creating a new niche of engagement. While the new button does not officially have a name, it may not be a "dislike" with a thumbs down design. Instead, it may allow users to express empathy for a story. Imagine posting a call for donations with an emotional plea from someone who needs help. While a "like" doesn't seem appropriate (people don't want to "like" tragedy), this new button could fill the current void. Now, people can acknowledge the post and raise its visibility with a click.
  3. Data for everyone! While the unknowns may exceed the knowns, we can assume that this new button will provide another metric for Facebook analytics. Giving users a quick way to interact with your content could certainly increase engagement. It also allows you to analyze sentiment, a metric where Facebook has lagged in comparison to other platforms.
  4. Trapped in a glass case of emotion? The biggest problem with this new button could be that negativity takes over Facebook. It could make it too easy for users to express dissatisfaction. Now, when people want to leave negative feedback, they must write a comment. But, with this new button, it just takes one click. You may never know what part of the message that person disagreed with.

This button presents new opportunities and challenges for navigating Facebook. While it will certainly take some time to get used to, any new feature on social media is bound to peak our attention. Only time will tell if we'll like or dislike this new button!