Just when I thought I had a handle on Facebook, they went and changed things up:
Introducing the Like button
Starting today people will be able to connect with your Page by clicking “Like” rather than “Become a Fan.” We hope this action will feel much more lightweight, and that it will increase the number of connections made across the site.
You know what would feel more lightweight? Letting me use the correct spelling of the name I want in my personal profile so I wouldn’t have to make a separate fan page in the first place.
When I joined Facebook late last year, I was forced to use my first and last name to create my profile. A few dozen people befriended me, but joining yet another social networking site seemed to be a waste of time. I don’t care what delectable morsels you’re cramming down your gullet or how bored you are, I just want your eyeballs on my car. How was I going to use Facebook to promote the Barbie Dream Hearse if I couldn’t even use her name?
Then about six weeks ago, a friend of mine who doesn’t have a general disdain for online social networking told me to make a fan page. I had been under the impression that if I wanted to spread the word about the BDH, I’d have to buy ad space. I circumvented this by letting Facebook find everyone I’ve ever emailed, befriending them, and telling them to be fans of my car. And thus, the BDH fan page link was destined to sit on hundreds of Info pages alongside “I bet we can find a million people who think Sarah Palin is an idiot” and “My sister said if I get one million fans she will name her baby Megatron”.
Eventually I figured out that I could change the display name in my personal profile to Barbie Dreme Hearse and people were finding and friending me there. So the correct spelling of Dream as a middle name is unacceptable, but Hearse as a last name is okay. Is our children learning?
Facebook isn’t terribly forthcoming about how they determine whether a name is “real” or not. I’d like to know why I can be friends with Stabby McFace (a web designer), Neumos Seattle (a music venue), Proto Type (a musician), Chuy Redfish (a restaurant), and Smange Smange (fuck knows), but if I try to enter Barbie Dream Hearse as my name, Facebook wags its pointy internet finger at me and spanks my cyber-bottom.
Now people can’t even be fans of the correct spelling of my car’s name, they have to “like” it. And the “Liking a Page” section of the FAQ that followed the notice is blowing my mind.
Within the parameters of its new system, Facebook poses a timeless question: “What does it mean to ‘Like’ a Page?” Yes, what does it mean to truly like something? Do I have to like it like it, or just like it? What if I just think it’s okay? Conversely, what if I like it so much, I’m already picking out the wedding dress and booking the chapel?
Do me one better, Facebook. I want to know what love is, and I want you to show me.
If the makeup of my fan base (now, “like” base) was just a supportive fraction of my friends, it would make sense to consolidate. However, I have two problems:
1. When you search for Barbie Dream Hearse, there are no “People” results, despite my very similar personal profile moniker.
2. Half of my fan base isn’t friends with me. Out of about 240 fans, 120 found my page through a friend suggestion or a search.
And while researching my two problems, I found a third problem: I have two impostor fan pages. Neither of them have any pictures or info, but one of them has 32 friends. That means 32 people did a search for Barbie Dream Hearse prior to mid-March and befriended Impostor BDH. If you’re out there, impostor, just know that you’re the U to my CK One. And the rest of us can smell your cheap stench from a mile away.
To make matters worse, I had to “like” this impostor to leave a comment on his crappy fake fan page. I suppose I wouldn’t have been a real “fan” either, but becoming a fan implies less of a connection, plus it shares the meaning of changing into a bladed wind-moving device, which I do like.
There would be much less confusion if Facebook had just let me be Barbie Dream Hearse on my personal profile, thus eradicating the need for a fan page altogether. People could make fan pages all they want; it would be obvious where to find the real BDH. Plus, I get more friends with a profile than fans with a page. Most people don’t care what pages their friends like, but they do care who their friends’ other friends are.
As of this writing, I have 450+ friends. But when I tell the 450 people who know me (or of me) about the time I jumped a gorge, drove through a mini-mall, and outran a hundred of Chicago’s finest, I also have to tell the 240+ fans of my car, and then 120+ get the same awesome story that is totally true and not made up TWICE. I don’t want to be a cross-poster. I don’t want to be that promoter who’s on every local discussion forum posting the same party flier for two months straight. Facebook, don’t make me be that guy!
This concludes my wayward deconstruction of Facebook. When I can think of other nuances to complain about, I’ll be sure to update this post, which is about as useful as shouting on the moon.
Till next time, ladies and gentlemen, remember always: The internet is Serious Business.