Here on VatorNews, we already have buttons for the four most popular social networks, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. If you thought that was a lot of screen space just for sharing, however, you might be about to experience some serious button fatigue.
The rumor running around right now, according to sources that spoke with TechCrunch, is that Facebook will be launching--as soon as f8 this week--four new sharing buttons alongside the “Like” button: “Read,” “Watched,” “Listened” and “Want.”
Presumably, the rationale is that the Like button, which launched over a year ago at the last f8, is just too general for the purpose it now serves. We like brands, we like books, we like videos, we like photos and on and on--if it’s something that interests us, we click the Like button. While the plugin was undoubtedly a massive success (Facebook says 10,000 new sites integrate social plugins each month), the question now is whether Facebook can evolve to bring more nuance to “liking” behavior within and outside of the social network.
And that’s why new buttons could make sense.
After reading an article on NYTimes.com, it might just make more sense to click “Read” instead of “Like.” Similarly, if you just watched a great television episode online, click “Watched.” And, of course teasing even more rumors that Facebook is preparing a music service, the user would click “Listened” after hearing a song.
(As a sidenote, these buttons could erase some of the stigma sometimes associated with the Like button. For example, it feels just strange to “like” an article describing a city’s increased crime rates or to “like” an educational video about animal abuse.)
The fourth button, “Want,” is supposed to launch later than the other three, but it could prove to be the most important. Everyone already gives each other a million birthday greetings per Facebook’s friendly little reminders; what if you could also check out the friend’s wishlist and buy them something they marked as “Want” somewhere on the Web?
The button would be a boon for e-commerce sites, who would experience a waterfall of social traffic. And, undoubtedly, Facebook would get a nice cut of every sale that it helped facilitate.
All of this is still rumor, however, and Facebook isn’t commenting, so we’ll just have to wait to f8 to find out for sure.