Home > facebook, technology > To Like or Not to Like…

To Like or Not to Like…

I’ve been getting back on to social media after a fairly long hiatus. And most social media services have changed a little bit in that time. What hasn’t changed however, is how stuff get’s shared around these places.

Google has +1, Tumblr has “reblogging”, Twitter has “retweet” and Facebook has the “like”… And they rely on these nifty sharing mechanisms to decide what you see.. what bubbles to the top, so to speak.

Out of the four, however, only Facebook has something that is a known word with a known meaning. And that makes things interesting…

Linguistically speaking, liking something is to inherently tag it as “good”. In Facebook’s context therefore, there’s likely to be a cognitive bias towards “liking” only stuff that is actually worth liking. That means, that status update someone made about cancer, or losing a loved one, or losing their dog isn’t going to get “likes” . and is therefore not really going to be on your timeline for a long time.

On other platforms, it’s easier for those kind of things to bubble up, A +1, or a reblog isn’t as “emotional” …

I wonder which is better? Personally, I think a true representation of what your friends are interested in is served by something like +1, or “Share” or “Retweet” or “Reblog” because it doesn’t have a positive or negative connotation attached to it. It just indicates your “support” toward the content. With like, however, you’re likely to not get a balanced picture.

Is this a flaw, then, on Facebook’s part? Did they miss an opportunity to be “truer” to the world? Or is “like” by design and they WANT only other people’s happiness to show through in your timelines, because they know that’s what we want to see? Is Facebook banking on the fact that a lot of us are voyeurs who live through others – either sharing in people’s happiness, or being jealous of it.. which is why we keep coming back to Facebook?

Or is “Like” just such a “brand” in itself now, that changing it to “Share” or “Support” just doesn’t make any sense any more?

Perhaps only Mark Zuckerburg knows..

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Categories: facebook, technology
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  1. July 16, 2014 at 09:37

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