We need a new Facebook button. Or a new definition of ‘like’.

Last week, a friend lost a very close relative. She made a related post on Facebook, which quickly accumulated over 100 comments with various messages of sympathy and encouragement, and nearly 400 likes.


Dicitonary.com is telling me that to like something is to ‘take pleasure’ in it; which, obviously, is not what the well-wishers meant. Rather, clicking the like button was a short-hand for ‘I have registered the news’ or, maybe, ‘I am thinking of you’.

Like semiotics

I can’t help thinking that, with more and more people taking to Facebook to share the dark moments of their life, the company really ought to do something about this button. Get a new one, or find a more neutral word for it. Though, given the company’s focus on creating a positive environment and general lack of response to users’ concerns, we may well end up seeing a new entry added to the dictionary, instead:

like dictionary


UPDATE: Amy-Mae Elliott, writing in Mashable UK, argues that “Facebook needs a ‘Sympathy’ button“. I love her suggestion – it does the job, and is more neutral (and, thus, less likely to be hijacked) than the ‘dislike’ button many have been claiming for. Great idea. Facebook, are you listening???

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