Recently I’ve been wondering how people use their “like” buttons. If you use social media at all you have them, and with them you wield power. So maybe it’s not great power, at least not by yourself, but it’s power all the same.
On Facebook, I notice that the like button is often used to simply acknowledge something someone has posted, and in that arena, I think that’s a perfectly acceptable way to use it, at least most of the time. You planted flowers? Great. Like. Your kid got a part in the play? Terrific. Like. That’s the dress you’re wearing to the party? Nice choice. Like. Grandpa Vito is in the hospital? That’s a shame. Like. Wait, what?
I think we should use our Facebook likes for things that we actually do like, or feel good about. Maybe it’s a puppy picture or a funny story about you and Aunt Vi on vacation in Bransonville. Why do people go to Bransonville? But the more challenging stuff in life? In my opinion a supportive comment in more appropriate. I know people don’t really “like” the bad stuff, but if you’re too lazy to type in a few words of encouragement, I think you should skip the interaction all together, until you have more time to put some thought into it.
That brings me to WordPress “likes.” I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting a few more of these lately, which I really do enjoy, but they sometimes leave me confused. I get a little notification on my phone that so and so has liked my post about blah blah blah.
“Oh goody!” I think to myself, “someone has actually read one of my posts!”
That thought makes me want to check to see how many views the blog has received, so I click on that little button on my phone, and it brings up the exact same number as it did an hour ago, when I last checked. And, yes, I know I have a problem. The only thing I can think of is that people are seeing my posts in their reader and then clicking the like button from there, without actually visiting the blog.
Why would you do that? I mean I’m flattered that after just a few words you already know that you like what I’ve written, but really, you ought to jump in and read the whole thing! I’m kidding of course about the love at first sight thing. The truth is, people are busy, but want to show their support of their fellow bloggers, so they click the like button. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it seems like a friendly gesture. The only issue I take with it, is that’s it’s a hollow one.
I like making bloggy friends. I like having them around in my reader and in my comments. They are awesome people, and I enjoy their blogs. But here’s the thing, when I read them, I actually go to the blog and read! Yes, the whole thing (if I like it). For some reason, sometimes a post doesn’t click with me. I don’t hit the like button automatically. I’m sorry, I just don’t. I don’t like everything I read, so I save my likes for the ones that I do.
I do try to comment on most posts that I read. Blogging is a conversation, at least to me. Granted it’s kind of one sided, but it’s a conversation all the same. For it to work, there has to be some give and take.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the likes. In fact I’d love to see more of them. But what I really like to see are readers engaging with the writing and contributing to the conversation. That makes me far happier than the quick click of a button.