๐Ÿ’ฌ On Beyond Like

Replied to On Beyond Like (The Place Where Conversations Happen) by Kevin Hodgson (Kevin’s Meandering Mind)

Is there any doubt that the world would be a little better place if we took the time to talk, even in digital spaces, with each other? A โ€œlikeโ€ or a โ€œplus oneโ€ or a โ€œboostโ€ or whatever is something, to be sure, but is it enough? Does it have depth? Nope. I canโ€™t even remember what I liked yesterday and I bet you canโ€™t either.

I was thinking about this topic recently when developing a session on blogging. I created a paper blog and added a space for ‘likes’, ‘read’ and ‘comment’.

Paper Blog inspired by Bianca Hewes
Paper Blog Template inspired by Bianca Hewes

My intent was to get people to think about the different points of data and what they might mean.

Personally, I have a long history of sharing quotes from posts that grabbed my attention. My issue was this wealth of knowledge was shared within someone else’s house. I have therefore taken to posting on my own site. This has led me to organise responses into different kinds, including likes, bookmarks, replies, listens, watches and reads.

For me, a ‘like’ often refers to something I thought was interesting, but do not really have anything else to add, either personally or as a comment to the author. In many respects these ‘Likes’ are for me firstly. I think that they are similar to Chris Aldrich’s read posts. (I use ‘reads’ for books.) I often link to articles I like in my own writing, rather than hit originals with endless pingbacks. See for example this post by Richard Olsen:

A screenshot taken from Richard Olsen’s post ‘Evaluating expert advice on schools and learning’

In addition to sharing in someone else’s house, I felt I had lost my purpose in plastering Twitter with endless quotes that were simply feeding the stream. I have subsequently tried to be more mindful, fearful of becoming a ‘statistical zombie’ as danah boyd puts it:

Stats have this terrible way of turning youโ€Šโ€”โ€Šor, at least, meโ€Šโ€”โ€Šinto a zombie. I know that they donโ€™t say anything. I know that huge chunks of my Twitter followers are bots, that I couldโ€™ve bought my way to a higher Amazon ranking, that my Medium stats say nothing about the quality of my work, and that I should not treat any number out there as a mechanism for self-evaluation of my worth as a human being. And yet, when there are numbers beckoning, I am no better than a moth who sees a fire.

Compared to the simplicity of just liking, favouriting or clapping, using my own site to ‘like’ involves more effort than a quick click. Although micropub clients provide an easier workflow, I find the effort put into crafting a like makes it something more than just clicking a button. I really like what Clay Shirky says:

The thing I can least afford is to get things working so perfectly that I donโ€™t notice whatโ€™s changing in the environment anymore.

Maybe then rather than beyond like we need to reimagine what the like is all about and start from there?

9 responses on “๐Ÿ’ฌ On Beyond Like”

  1. I love the paper blog (thank you for sharing it) and for the way you look at this issue from different angles. I agree that your work with sharing quotes and then using those words as angles of reflection is an excellent way to engage in conversation.

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