You likely have heard much talk lately about Facebook fan ventures. It seems every other week blogs are blowing up with stories on who has acquired how many fans in the shortest amount of time on the social network. It seems to have all started when Oreo attempted to acquire a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for most Facebook fans or “Likes” in 24 hours. This attempt at the record was extremely short lived since soon after Oreo announced its attempt Grammy award winning rapper, Lil Wayne announced his plight to beat out Oreo for the record and he won. At the end of the competition around 16.7 million people liked Oreo and a resounding 20 million liked Lil Wayne. This was only the beginning.
Fast forward a couple of months and the number of Facebook likes is still news-worthy. Headlines went across the blogs today that 7 million fans have liked Argentine soccer player Leo Messi in a mere 7 hours. Mashable.com used a interesting comparison to assess the number of likes acquired by the soccer player in this small amount of time quoting “to put that number into perspective, it’s nearly 40% as many Likes as U.S. President Barack Obama has on his Facebook Page and about 30% as many as Justin Bieber fans have contributed to the pop star’s Facebook Page — but Messi’s Likes were gathered in hours, not years.” To this I respond with a sarcastic whoopie-do (loosely translated that means “who cares?”)
What is to be said for acquiring tons of likes? What are we (or they) ultimately gaining from this whole ordeal? At first it was cute to me. I got the whole Guinness Book of World record thing. I saw that the point of the venture by Oreo was publicity and possibly to show the power of user voice in social networking but now I just don’t get it. Now I’m inclined to wonder what “likes” prove? Okay, I get it that likes prove that you are popular, but what else? What is the grand scheme of this whole ordeal? Why are we caring? What makes this news?
I guess I’m growing so irritated by this whole thing because it ties into the notion that most of what we are learning in regards to social networks lately adds nothing. There seems to be nothing to gain in knowing this meaninglessness. I can’t find one measly upgrade that knowledge of this information as brought to my life, or the life of those who have acquired the millions of likes. Another world record, perhaps? In which case, kudos.
Does it really all just boil down to a popularity contest? I could’ve sworn we left that way of thinking back in high school. I’d be much more excited to think that the purpose of Facebook was to connect, share and inform. I’d also find pleasure in knowing that there are more vital stories to report as news. Don’t get me wrong here; Leo Messi is a really cool dude to have 7 million folks like him in 7 hours. I certainly cannot hate on that. What I can do, however, is ask this one nagging question—what else?