I Like You

I imagine that the topic of the like button (or icon, or call it what you will), has been covered before, probably many times, but I don’t remember seeing anything, so I am going to discuss this and ask some questions.

What are you doing when you click like on a blog post? What exactly is it that you are liking?

So by liking a post are you providing support to the poster, are you saying that you like the message of the post, or that you think it is well written? I guess that it can mean different things on different occasions. It is a multipurpose like button. It can mean different things to different people and different things in different contexts. Surely I am not getting philosophical about the like button on blog posts, whatever next? Am I just over thinking this?

I know that I sometimes find myself feeling strangely guilty when I click like on a post where someone has revealed something bad or personal about themselves, or that they are sick. I know I am doing it as a means of showing them my support, but I always have that strange nagging feeling of guilt in the back of my mind that I am saying that I like the fact that they are sick.

Another related thought I was having was about how real is the number of likes that we receive for a particular blog post? How many people just go to a post and click like in support of the person that has written it, rather than actually having read the post? How many people go to blogs and click like with the expectation that the blogger will return and visit their own blog? Strange the thoughts that run through your mind at work, where incidentally WordPress never seems to work properly.

I wonder what other buttons I can pick on, or press. What is it with me and buttons, and particularly with pressing buttons? I seem to vaguely remember a post I did not so long again regarding the reblog button, or was that just about reblogging rather than the button itself, I forget. I do hope I haven’t developed a WordPress button obsession, that would be kind of sad. I prefer my fetishes to be a little more exotic than that.

So how do you view the like button, and in particular your use of it? Should I say ‘How do you like the like button?’, or is that altogether too many likes in one place? When do you click like? Do you always click like if you go to a post?  I must like questions – Is there a button for that?

Perhaps there should be some alternatives, maybe I support you or I’m thinking of you buttons.

Oh, and remember, you can always leave me a comment or click my like button.

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92 thoughts on “I Like You

  1. Not sure if I should click that like button here. I agree about the awkwardness of hitting like on a post about bad news. It might stem from the personal definition that like means you get some enjoyment out of it. Yet, like has taken on an alternative meaning in the realm of social media. It can mean that you support someone and care in a time when you don’t know what to say. Sometimes I click like on a post I’ve read, but don’t know what to comment about.

    The times I do get annoyed with the like button is when I ask for a response or ask a question. This happens on Facebook a lot. I ask something and all I get are likes, which makes me think that nobody is really reading what I’m writing.

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      • Scared or messing with you? The temptation to not hit like on a post about likes is amazingly strong. We could also be waiting for your to turn your back on us and then we’ll stealth like it. Welcome to the ‘fun’ of posts on the like button.

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  2. I like to engage readers in dialog. Doesn’t have to be a lot of words, just a few. You can “like” someone from the reader without going to their page. I presume a lot of people do this. I try not to unless I know it is a nice haiku or something that I can see fully in the reader. That’s another reason I like the email over the reader for people I regularly converse with. I can see the post and then comment readily on their site. When someone says their dog died today and they wrecked their car on the way to work and got fired….I comment RATHER than “like”, but I have seen such posts with a multitude of “likes”…probably from the reader without having read it. (I would Hope.)

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    • I agree that sometimes it makes more sense to comment than to like, but it does often seem like that posts have been liked as a means of indicating support – I would hope that was the case in your example, but I expect it is a combination of these reasons, not actually reading it being one of them. It smacks a little of disrespect to me if you like without reading.

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      • I agree about the disrespect, but honestly, as many people as I follow, when I am looking through email or the reader I have been guilty of “liking” something without comment or reading the whole article, only because I got the main idea and the post was extremely verbose and I wanted to indicate my support, but did not have the time to read it in its entirety, or I want to study on it deeper. For example, Chris Mc Cullen writes some long posts that I love to read because he is very knowledgeable and has so much helpful info to contemplate. Sometimes I will like his posts because he has brought up an interesting topic. I may go back hours or days later read it well to absorb it and comment.

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      • I will also frequently “like” poetry without commenting, but I always read it. Sometimes my interpretation is just my own and I don’t comment.

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  3. I usually click like on a post if I enjoyed reading it but either cannot come up with a comment other than “I really liked this” or I feel that my comment would just be repetitive as several commenters have already praised the same elements.

    That said, one can never receive too much praise, and I hate it when people consistently “like” my posts but never comment or interact in any way.

    I certainly agree with you on liking posts about “bad things”—that’s when I usually comment to express my support, condolence etc. since I feel weird “liking” someone’s misery.

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  4. It is a bit awkward to click ‘like’ on every post I like. It could be because I enjoyed reading the post or maybe there’s a specific message I took from the post. It might be any combination if things but there’s something about the post I liked. But I always read the post and try to understand what the author is saying.

    I like this post because it gets me thinking not only about WordPress likes, but Facebook likes, subscribers, followers, etc.

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  5. I click ‘like’ if I have enjoyed whatever was written in the post. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I didn’t enjoy it if I didn’t hit ‘like’, but I’ll never just ‘like’ a post without first reading it. I’m also a bit uncomfortable with people hitting ‘like’ on a post of mine so shortly after I’ve published it that they can’t possibly have read it. I’d rather have honest ‘likes’, but of course not everyone uses it for the same reasons as me…

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    • That’s true, and an interesting point, when a like pops up on a long post you have just published. I am sure these are those people (or bots) just trying to get return traffic for their own nefarious reasons. Unfortunately, not everyone is honest.

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  6. I’ll like a post if I can’t think of anything to say or to add to the general conversation (as many have said – but having clicked “like” on this post, I felt I probably should contribute… sigh). I also click “like” for poetry. Particularly poetry because I haven’t a poetic bone in my body, so rarely feel qualified to comment, but I can appreciate it. I’ll over-think the “like” button too, but more often, my desire to just show support overrides the inner voice.

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    • I think that is it really. It is that inner desire to show support. I agree with the poetry comment too. I do not have the skills for that, but I can appreciate it and like to like it.

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  7. Have you studied the marketeers? ‘Adsense’ – all that…One click from you is 0.1 cent for them. I’ve found a poetry website with advertising between the verse, also the AWOL crowd who’ve all paid twenty quid each in the Ponsi scheme.

    atb, I’ll give you a like.

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  8. I’ve been guilty of hitting the like button when I’ve been only half-concentrating. I was actually called out on it once – I hadn’t even realized I’d ‘liked’ the post – when the subject of the post was about something horrific that happened. Needless to say I was mortified. Since then I’ve tried to think about what I’m doing, though I do find the like button habit-forming. Having said that, I only hit it when I’ve fully read a post.

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  9. Yes the like button is strange. I have clicked like on posts about a kidnapped child for example. Clearly, I am in support of the poster taking on a critical issue. But it still feels weird. I have had the same feeling liking a post that I disagree with, but felt was well written and thought provoking. I don’t just like posts I agree with.
    Here is a question I have. Why do some people follow my blogs if they never read or like any of my posts? Whats the point?
    Also, why do some people like me intensely for a short time and then abruptly stop completely?
    I haven’t changed.
    Puzzlers~

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    • Yes, there are certainly some oddities surrounding WordPress blogs and bloggers different behaviours. I have been wondering if there is any instruction on WordPress etiquette anywhere, or whether it is something to consider writing.

      Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate your views and the additional questions you have posed.

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  10. I would never hit the like button without reading the full post (another reason why I’m so behind on reading others’ posts) but I have noticed the like button has lit up literally seconds after I’ve published a post and I know it wasn’t possible for them to read what I’ve written. It wasn’t anyone that I regularly converse with and was most likely a spammer. I generally comment when the post is bad news rather than hit the like button but I do view the like button as a show of support, especially if it’s from someone in that person’s inner circle. Sometimes, believe or not, we writers just don’t have words.

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  11. This is a great question and one I struggle with from time-to-time. I have found many occasions when the word “Like” just doesn’t seem to be appropriate at all. I have found my self not clicking the like button for example on posts that are just too sad to say that I like them even though the post may have been terrific. When I do click “Like” in those cases I try to include a comment along with it. With most posts though, I click “Like” even if I don’t comment just to say that I read the post and appreciated its content. In the “Reader” I almost never click “Like” from there, instead I navigate to the post on the blog for two reasons, 1) to read the full post and 2) to show that I visited their blog. I don’t know if what I do is any better or worse than anyone else’s way, but for the most part it works for me. Great post with a really good question.

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    • There do seem quite a number of approaches to the use of the like button. I think that yours is a sensible one. I agree that clicking like from the reader or an email is not good. I always try to go to the post itself.

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  12. I use the like button when I like a post. I don’t hit it routinely on the somber crap although if I want to add support, I usually leave a comment. In my system, clicking on “Like” in the e-mail takes you to the post. The only way to become a “like” dealer is to use the reader and simply hit like. (I hate those 2 second after the post likes) Good question and I liked reading and responding. Can I go now?

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  13. Pretty much what most commenters above have said. I click “like” if I can’t think of a comment more than “I like this”, but I won’t click “like” without reading the blog post first. And if there is some bad news and I want to show my support, I do that in a comment rather than by clicking “like”.
    Interesting comment above about people who click “like” almost the second you posted a post. How do they so soon that I have posted something? I used to be really happy with “likes”, but I am a bit more jaded now with “likes” from people who always like all my posts the minute I post them.

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    • I agree, the instant likes are pretty meaningless. You get to see a pattern too, about which ‘people’ do this. Thanks for your views, there have been some pretty interesting opinions in this thread.

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  14. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the like button. It used to annoy me when people would like my post but not leave a comment, only because I wanted to know why they liked my post. What did I say that was worthy of a like? But I’ve gotten over it. Everyone is so busy that if all they have time for is to click the like button and move on, then so be it. I don’t even bother to wonder if they actually read my post.

    I do like pretty much every post I read. I’ll admit to liking a few that I haven’t read fully, but I try to avoid that that because I know it can backfire. For sad posts, I’ll like it if the blogger is someone I feel close to and I’m confident that she or he will know that clicking like is just another way of saying I care. If I’m not sure, then I’ll explain myself in the comments. It is tricky there and I would prefer if WP could add other buttons. I mean, WP isn’t Facebook so adopting the whole Like button thingy is weird by itself.

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    • Thanks for commenting. It seems that there is a consensus that if it is a sad or personal post that it is better to comment either alone to in addition to a like.

      Maybe extra buttons is the way forward.

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  15. I generally hit the “like” button, to indicate that I’ve read a post all the way through. It’s just a simple way of saying “I was here”. If I didn’t like a post, I wouldn’t read it all the way through. And thus nature balances itself…Well, anyway, that’s how I tend to think of it.

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