I’m not sure I’m going to change my habits back? It feels rude. Isn’t that interesting? I feel an obligation to be more generous, more ‘like’-able. I share an anniversary photo on Facebook, someone takes the time to send us well-wishes, I guess I should like their comment. I share something on Twitter and someone responds. I don’t have a response in return, so I should like their tweet as my response/acknowledgement. Someone shares a wonderful family moment on Instagram, I should be nice and like it, after all, they liked my family photo. And so suddenly my habits above became watered down to things I should do to be polite on social media.
David, your discussion of the act of liking reminds me of a post from Kevin Hodgson. In a lengthy response, I clarified my personal use of ‘likes’ and how it might differ to others.
I also enjoyed Doug Belshaw’s reflection of Twitter about likes versus bookmarks:
PSA: you don't need to add to your Twitter bio: 'likes are not an endorsement'. Just use the bookmarks feature instead. pic.twitter.com/5jleRAF66e
There is no shortage of online guides providing advice on how to get more likes on social media platform Instagram.
Likes are how the social media platform’s users show their approval of posts, and they drive a whole industry of influencers who make a living publishing carefully curated snapshots of their lives online.
So what does a Like mean here on Scripting News? It’s a way to tell me that you saw what I wrote and found it likeable. It doesn’t mean you necessarily agree. You’re also registering your presence to other people who read this blog.
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 “like” or a “plus one” or a “boost” or whatever is something, to be sure, but is it enough? Does it have depth? Nope. I can’t even remember what I liked yesterday and I bet you can’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’.
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:
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 you — or, at least, me — into a zombie. I know that they don’t say anything. I know that huge chunks of my Twitter followers are bots, that I could’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 don’t notice what’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?