The Like Button

Before I go any further, I’d like to acknowledge that I have been awarded another Versatile Blogger Award, this time at Life In A Notebook.  This happened a while ago, but I haven’t talked about it yet, and for that I apologize.  I’m incredibly grateful that someone feels as though I deserve a blogging award.  I’m not going to do the usual nominating/random facts thing, though, because I’ve already done plenty of that.  For a peek at the awards I’ve gotten in the past and thus the blogs you should follow, though, check out the “awards” tag in the sidebar.

Okay.  Today I’m going to break my normal tradition and talk about something un-book related.

I know.  Shocking, right?

Anyway, along with the emergence of Facebook came the notion of “liking” something.  That is, clicking a button showing your support of a post or whatever, or your agreeing with something.  It doesn’t require any actual effort from what I’ll call the liker, and it provides a means of saying something when there’s really nothing to say.

But it’s occurred to me that the like button may be hindering communication.

Recently I read a comment on a blog post that I really agreed with, but I didn’t have anything specific to say.  Gee, I thought, I wish there was a like button for comments.  Immediately afterward, I got to thinking about how people can no longer use words to express themselves.  We feel as though a like or a thumbs-up or whatever will be enough of a communication.  In a lot of cases, it is.

But no like button is a substitution for using language to get ourselves across.  No simple expression of our agreement can perfectly replace an intelligent discussion among different people.  Even if it’s just reiterating someone else’s point, even if it’s just agreeing, can’t we still use words for this?

I'm totally guilty of this, actually. (from someecards.com, I think)

For all of its ease of communication, social networking is to some extent lessening the contact we have with other people, at least in my humble opinion.  There are less face-to-face conversations nowadays.  Everything is getting more and more impersonal, and the like button only adds to this.

I’m not completely knocking the like button.  It certainly has its uses.  All I’m saying is if you feel as though you have something to contribute to a conversation, don’t stop at liking a post.  Get involved; make a point; do something to let the person who posted know you read/looked at whatever it is and are truly interested in it.

Sorry to get all preachy on you, readers, but I felt like I needed to put this out there.  Now that I think about it, though, this is really close to the issue that forms the core of the short story I’m sharing with you guys starting next week…I swear I didn’t do that on purpose.  Weird.

Happy reading!

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5 thoughts on “The Like Button

  1. I can see your point about the like button being a quick way of showing you liked something without taking the time to engage in a discussion.

    But I’ve never thought about the like button as a negative thing. I figure it’s a way of saying I like your post, but don’t have anything profound to say and don’t want to type a stupid comment to sit out in Cyberspace forever.

    I personally read a hundred blogs and don’t always have a great comment to add to each and every discussion but I want to let the blogger know I enjoyed what I read.

    I think of the like button as the happy medium between lurkers and commenters.

    • Good point. I’m not saying the like button is completely useless, but I think what might have been some great conversations are avoided because we stop at the like button. I guess this post more applies to people who might have something else to say, but don’t say it for whatever reasons.

      • I see your point too. Blogs are to spill our thoughts and also hear back from others. Dialogues are an important part of the blog process.

        Just wanted you to know my like is a sign that I’m here, I heard you and I enjoyed the post. 🙂

  2. Sometimes, its okay to “like” something without having anything to say. If anything, it means someone is thinking about what they just read, which interrupts the ability to say anything meaningful (at the moment). At least, that’s how I choose to see it. 🙂

    • I like how you put it. I suppose the like button does have its uses. The post was inspired by a few isolated incidents I’ve come across, so perhaps it doesn’t work for every situation when someone’s liked something.

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