a lesson from facebook: is it better to be liked or to have fans?

I reckon I’d rather be liked. 4251904562_5236654ac6_o

Last week Facebook announced:

In the next two to three weeks, the “Become a Fan” concept for branded pages will be replaced with the more prevalent “Like” button and brands will no longer accumulate “Fans,” but “Connections” instead…the “Become a Fan” verbiage will disappear, being replaced by the simple “Like” button and thumbs up icon.

Interesting, no? There is a big difference between “being a fan” and “liking” something. And between accumulating fans and being liked.

I confess: I cringe regularly at my social networking flittering. I’m on Twitter, Facebook and I blog. Sometimes I’m just not certain about my motives. Is it about accumulating followers? Attention? Why do I reach out? Recently, esp in light of my Mitch Albom column, I’ve tried to be conscious of reaching out authentically. Doing it for the right reason. It takes focus and commitment. But it’s paying off. Every time I’m authentic I get wonderful feedback (from this blog, from strangers, from the “universe).

Twitter is all about fan whoring. You on Twitter? Don’t tell me you don’t see your growing followers’ tally as an accomplishment? Or that you haven’t been intrigued by the techniques used to get more people on that tally? But something in me is ill-at-ease with this concept.

To want fans is to want people to attach themselves to your exterior image. It’s tentative. Fans expect something from their attachment to you. There is no connection yet. In fact, there is a “me” and “you over there” gap that can prevent connection.

To be liked is to connect from the outset. You’ve already given something. Liking seals the connection.

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