Dear Facebook, Bring Back "Become a Fan"
I've been with you for years now. I've watched you grow up, and all along, I've stuck it out. When you took away my news feed a few times and replaced it with some live something or other, I stuck it out. And here we are again. I opened my Facebook page just a few days ago to reveal a life shattering change. No longer was I "a fan." No longer were any of my friends "becoming fans" of Justin Beiber and other preteen singers. I was shocked; I gazed in horror at the monstrosity of a change that appeared before my very eyes. Facebook, you took away my fan pages.
But then I learned - you didn't take away my fan pages at all. Instead, you renamed the single action, a single click that seems like such a simple event: "Become a fan." Now, it was plain, old "Like." I like this, I like that. But those few words weren't merely lines of text that just took up space on your servers; they were infiltrating my culture. Although you may not know it, the words "become a fan" were becoming a part of my language and the language of my peers and younger acquaintances. I can remember the first time I heard it - I was eating lunch and I heard "I'm a fan of PB&Js." Not "I like PB&Js," but "I'm a fan." "Where had this phrase come from?" you ask. It came from you. Years of using your site had brainwashed this poor, innocent kid, and without even realizing it, he was becoming a fan of things in real life.
But now it is no more. Facebook, you essentially had going for you what Google has now. I know they're a big rival, but think about it. I Google things; I visit Google; I do a Google, whatever that means. It's a word, a noun, a verb, and other parts of speech. Google has become cultural, and by its mass and rapid exposure to the world, it has become a part of our lives. You could've had that, Facebook. You could've had the entire world becoming fans of food, family members, pets, pretty much anything. But now, we just "like" it. Just boring, plain, simply "like it."
But you made me laugh too, Facebook. Although you destroyed thousands of fan pages that require the words "become a fan of" in front of them, you've opened up a new wave of opportunity. Just yesterday, one of my friends proudly proclaimed to Facebook land that he "likes it rough." So thank you for that.
I'm sure you won't change, and as I said here, I can understand why you won't. But just remember, I'm always a fan.