Facebook has gone live with the changes:
Another interesting addition is the way they visually break out how many of your friends (assuming you’re logged in) “like” the Page as opposed to the complete total. For example, five of my friends like the band The Whigs:
This is consistent with the way Facebook uses peer endorsement in advertising options, showing who else is attending, or “likes” an event or Page for an ad that is viewed.
Looks like the new changes are turning on and off at random for some users as they roll them out. Expect them live for everyone shortly.
Just for the record, it is NOT a big deal for the average person that Facebook will be shelving the term Fan as a signifier of a person’s relationship to a business, institution, product, services, etc. through Pages on Facebook.
Is it a big deal for the Pages themselves and the entities behind them? Let’s just say it’s not a negative thing.
For those with fervent actual fans, it may feel like a bit of a step down in loyalty, but frankly those people will show you allegiance in other more tangible ways such as engagement and financial commitment. It may be that you take the issue into your own hands by creating exclusive clubs within (through Groups) or outside to help separate the super-fans.
But for most administrators of a Facebook Page the change will be a welcome one. It reduces the level of affinity needed to want more information from, or express endorsement of. They rightly have seen how easily and voluminously users have taken to “Like” on the most minute of posts, so to extend that on a more macro level makes sense. And Pages will benefit – watch for a surge in “Likers Formally Known As Fans” (or, “Subscribers” as you’ll notice Facebook sometimes uses in certain contexts) once it goes into action and the process becomes the norm.
We were joking with “Fans” on our Facebook Page about the levels of commitment Facebook might employ (“hearts” or “admit you’re non-commitally fond of”) and truly we’re just talking about semantics here. When you add in the upcoming changes that could impact Pages due to Facebook’s location plans, you’ll further appreciate a low barrier of psychological entry for “Likes” over “Fandom” when someone is just casually passing by your location (I won’t be a fan of something I don’t know much about, but I can “Like” what you’re about and want to check you out more later).