So far, it’s obvious that this button would hook into Facebook’s Social Graph and enable them to track yet another metric about the behavior of their users. It would allow Facebook to differentiate between what people want to share with their friends in a “Like” such as a post or an advertisement; and something that people desires or “Want” as in an object or product.
The Inside Facebook blog points out that a type of “Want” button has already been produced by several third-party Facebook app developers—but by introducing this directly into the Facebook SDK the social media company will be taking advantage of an obvious avenue to gather a great deal more information about their users.
The only obvious route for this context-differentiation happens to be one of marketing.
Certainly advertisers would love to enable users to click “Want” on a product that they’re displaying in an advertisement vs. “Like” (or share) so that they can get a metric of desire about their product outside from a metric of popularity.
Retail sites such as Amazon.com and visually oriented social media sites such as Pinterest enable people to use Facebook to hook their wish lists up with their social graphs. Since the focus of sites such as Amazon.com is to sell retail items, they can piggyback easily on social media in order to pull in sales and since they have their own internal wish list and even “want” styled buttons they can use Facebook to drive interest.
Pinterest also hooks into this retail-impulse by permitting users to build up wish lists and display products that they want.
A desire-driven marketing economy coming to a community near you
With the “Want” button burning at full brightness, Facebook already has the population and critical mass to become an advertising up to draw people in and let them scratch their aspirational-buy itch. It also means that we’ll probably be bombarded by the deepest, darkest material obsessions of our friend’s lists as we watch streams of marketing take advantage of the “Want” button.
Perhaps there’ll be a setting hidden somewhere in Facebook’s arcane options lists that’ll allow us to hide them forever from our Walls and Timelines… If we’re lucky it’ll work.