One of the things that most makes me feel like I’m beating my head against a wall is when I’m trying to convince people to click reaction buttons like the Facebook Like button or Google +1 button on web pages. I think that most people just don’t really think to do it when they read something that they like, but they should, because as Avinash Kaushik brilliantly termed it, it’s applause.
Now, I kind of get why people shy away from the using the Facebook Like button: because it shows up on your Wall, has a chance to show up in people’s stream and now shows up in the ticker. All of those things are great for people trying to promote their content and get more clicks, but it’s not so great for those of us just trying to get feedback on what people are liking and if they’re actually reading what we’re writing. Even if you’re not actively embarrassed to have people know that you like it, it just feels a little more intrusive than a lot of people want to go through with. Even I’ve started shying away from clicking the Like button on content I like.The Google +1 is different, though. You should be clicking that business all the time. Here’s why:
It gives feedback. I know I already said this above, but this is huge. Just being able to click once and tell the author of the article with no uncertainty that you like the article is something you should always do. There’s only so much that we can tell from web analytics, and this is much more sure. This sort of feedback is like the currency of the web, and if you don’t spend it, it’s likely that your favorite outlets will go out of business.
It’s unobtrusive. Unlike the Facebook Like button, clicking the +1 button doesn’t immediately do anything, so it’s not widely and immediately broadcasting the click.
It’s helpful to your friends searching. This is where the “public” part of the +1 button comes in. In Google search results, the articles you’ve +1’d show that you recommend it just below the result. So while that means that you still shouldn’t +1 anything that you wouldn’t want people to know you’re reading, it can also be massively helpful. If you know that a friend of yours liked the fifth search result for an Excel formula rather than the first one, wouldn’t you want to know that? It’s a new, more helpful kind of sharing, and I think it’s been vastly underrated and under-advertised.