There are things you like. There are things you need. Then there are things you want. “Want” is some state of desire that exists on varying points of the spectrum between “like” and “need.” Facebook developers have given us the ability to tell the world what we like, and they’re working on a way for us all to express things we want now, too.
If Facebook users had been asked what kind of button they want, I think we’d be seeing a “dislike” button, but that’s a lot of negative energy to bring to the universe.
Don’t hold your breath waiting to be bombarded with notifications about not only friends but strangers clicking “Want” on all of the selfies you’ve posted lately. Currently the “want” feature isn’t a readily available social plugin on Facebook’s developer site, and it will only be available to objects marked as products. In the meantime developers have been able to create their own want actions, but users need to authorize a third party app in order to do so. This means you need to authorize some developer’s “Want” app to “access your profile” and then send annoying app requests to everyone you know.
“Liking” and “wanting” can be pretty similar. For example, I like Pop Tarts and I usually want to not only eat them, but make ice cream sandwiches out of them too. I like wine and usually want to drink it. So what’s the point of having both? Well, “Like” and “want” can also be pretty different. I like a gym called KC’s Fitness because I went to a free class there once and the people are nice, but ultimately I don’t want to go back there because the entire place smelled like the inside of a hockey glove. “Want” is a little more serious than “like” – it cuts through the clutter of pages people just “like” because someone asked them too, or some other reason that is not particularly good.
The “Like” feature allowed Facebook to collect massive amounts of data about our affinity for everything from company pages to cat pictures to various products to long romantic walks to the fridge. As a member of the advertising industry reading this article, you know full well how the information collected by Facebook has been used. Think about it this way: if all the brands could get a better idea of just how badly you want to buy their stuff, maybe they would treat you a little differently?