DISLIKE! The Importance of Social Graces on Facebook

A few weeks ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that its development team was working on a “dislike” button as a counter to the “like” button. For years, there has been a running conversation about the desire for a dislike button, and Facebook is finally addressing the call. But what exactly does this mean for the spirit of social media or the social media landscape?

Facebook has always been hesitant to add a dislike button feature, as they felt it would create discontent and even animosity among users. Now, the company feels it is important to provide another way to express empathy and sympathy. Zuckerberg pointed out that “[i]t’s important to give people more options than just ‘like’…not every moment is a good moment.”

Yet, in an age where social media emboldens users, it is terribly easy to fall into a pattern where we are saying, sharing, and posting more than we would care, or be comfortable saying or sharing in a face-to-face – or even phone – conversation. The dislike button (coming whether we marketers like it or not) is a great opportunity to remind ourselves how we can stay graceful in the midst of electronic chatter!

  1. You’re in good company. Whether you’re posting to a personal account or managing a national brand’s page, it is so important to remember who your followers are. Take that information into account first and foremost, and let it guide what you share and how you share your views.

JetBlue Airways has a major hub in Boston, MA. After the Boston Marathon bombing, the company took a break from its typically posts to express sympathy and offer support for all victims. This simple yet genuine post was sensitive and relevant, and followers appreciated the acknowledgement of the national tragedy.



  1. Mind your manner(isms). We all know tone of voice and body language are completely lost when communicating through social media. It’s important to triple check your posts and ensure that you are “reading between the lines” to make sure your message isn’t sub-textually conveying something else. Keep your tone of voice positive, and always keep your message about yourself whenever possible. When in doubt, read your post aloud. If it sounds like it could be offensive, think twice about blasting it out to the universe.

Take, for example, a tweet sent by Kenneth Cole aimed at building buzz for the line’s spring collection. The tweet backfired on the company, however, when followers felt KC was making light of the riots and protests then underway in the city of Cairo.




  1. Don’t run on. Knowing when to stop – or when to be brief – is key to a mindful social media presence. There is a time and place for everything, even brevity! If you find yourself going for a story instead of a sound byte, switch media and post on your blog instead.
  2. Nobody is perfect. We all are going to make mistakes, and that is especially true on social media. With the advent of the new dislike button, don’t be afraid to post an apology on Facebook if you overstep your bounds. Even though there may be a couple dissenters, your fans or friends will appreciate the sincerity.

Lilly Pulitzer’s semi-annual sales often overwhelm the company’s ecommerce site, causing downtime and annoyed customers. Their social media team does an excellent job of apologizing for the situation and, taking it a step further, providing situation updates as much as possible.




  1. Take a breath. Inevitably, someone will have something negative to say about you or your brand. Instead of firing off the first thing that comes to mind, take a step back, allow emotions to settle, then come back to the computer to devise a composed response.
  2. If you don’t have anything nice to say… don’t say it! Stick to your message. Don’t comment or post about things that have little relevance to your brand or to you personally. If we all listened to our mothers, can you imagine how kind our newsfeeds would look?
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