Saturday, May 08, 2010

Thoughts on the Facebook "Like" Button (And Rats)

I described my first take on the Facebook "Like" button, which we installed at Wise Law Blog last weekend, in a discussion over coffee this week with Omar Ha-Redeye.*

Lo and behold, as if to echo my very words, Slaw's Simon Fodden (in a wholly different context) has paraphased my conclusions far better than I ever could have:

[T]agging is the practice that some people have of making their distinctive mark on public objects — a pathetic human version, perhaps, of a pet’s urge to pee on lampposts and the like.

Ultimately, Facebook "Like's" primary innovation may be that it has - at long last - enabled humans to leave our digital pee trails online - wherever our hearts (and presumably, our primal, inner wagging tails) may desire.

Now that's progress!

There are many who argue that leveraging this new, "Like" technology will be a key component in law firm SEO strategies for the future, and they may well be right.

Time will tell. But, what's the point of it all?

To address that question, we might want to consider the behavioural traits of yet another mammal, often studied in modern science's quest to understand we homo sapiens**:

Urine marking -- the deposit of small drops or smears of urine on the ground, objects, and other rats -- is a form of chemical communication. One rat generates the chemical signal (a drop of urine), and another rat identifies, integrates, and responds to that signal either behaviorally or physiologically.

Urine contains a lot of information about the rat who produced it: its species, sex, age, reproductive status, sexual availability, social status, individual identity, and current stress level, as well as the age of the scent mark itself.

And wouldn't access to that kind of information be a social media marketing strategist's dream come true?

Welcome to the Facebook "Like" universe.

.....

Notes:

* Congratulations are in order for Omar, Canada's foremost law student blawger, on the completion of his J.D. studies. And by the way, Editions 1 and 2 of OMG! Law Talk, featuring Omar, Michael Carabash and I, are posted on our sidebar, so have a look.

** Did you know that homo sapiens translates from Latin as "wise man?"

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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