Friday, September 12, 2014

To “LIKE” or NOT to “LIKE” . . . on Facebook ~ that is the question!!

Many of you may have read one of several posts that were making the rounds on FB and on various blogs about NOT using the “like” button on Facebook status updates or even on other people’s comments. This post by Elan Morgan prompted me to give this experiment a try:

I Quit Liking Things On Facebook for Two Weeks. Here’s How It Changed My View of Humanity

So, for the last couple of weeks in August and most of the first week of September I made a conscious effort to resist the urge to hit the “like” button while perusing around on FB. My experience was very similar to Elan Morgan’s. First off, it was dang hard NOT to hit the “like” button. I had become accustomed to using the “like” button on nearly everything my friends posted unless I really took issue with something.

Elan says it best on her post: 

"The Like is the wordless nod of support in a loud room. It’s the easiest of yesses, I-agrees, and me-toos. I actually felt pangs of guilt over not liking some updates, as though the absence of my particular Like would translate as a disapproval or a withholding of affection." 

That is exactly how I felt. To me, “liking” something on FB meant: 

“Hey, I saw this.”   
“I’m here for you.”  
“I actually DO like this.”  
“I agree.”   
“You’re doing great.” 
“Good for you.”

And the number one message hitting the “LIKE” button sent (from my perspective) was, “You are NOT invisible.”

How many times have you posted something interesting, cute, clever, fun as can be, or even serious and important and your post just sits there?

No. One. Ever. Even. Saw. It. (Or so it seems).

Even if they did, they didn’t have the DECENCY to be supportive enough to hit the “like button.”

Here’s a little poem I wrote about it one day when no one was commenting or “liking” my post on FB and it was making me feel rather insignificant.  

"Timing of Posts is EVERYTHING"

Feel invisible
Even when among my friends
I say clever things
But no one responds to it
Darn that Facebook anyway.
© 2011 Stephanie Abney 

Yeah, I never wanted to be THAT person – so I freely and regularly “liked” just about everything. That’s how I rolled all the years I have been using Facebook.

What was interesting to me during my little experiment, is that NOT “liking” status updates forced me to stop and say something about them instead. And that brought about an entirely different “feel” and experience to my time spent on FB. It didn’t have to be a huge comment, just actually say something more than “like.” The result was one of showing a feeling of support much more so than the rapid-fire “liking” of nearly everything.

I noticed I felt calmer and happier when I was on FB. I had much fewer ads show up in my newsfeed and posts from friends I seldom heard from online started scrolling through a newsfeed that was no longer hijacked by my frantic “likes.” It was quite interesting.

An article, How to makeFacebook work better for you: Quit the ‘Like’ by Dylan Tweney at "Venture Beat" points out: 

"Stop liking things, and Facebook eases off the marketing messages, letting your friends’ updates come to the fore." 

There's another great article about it: The FacebookExperience Without a Like Button which points out: "Disappearing the social network's most-used feature forces us to actually say nice things to each other." 

And there are those who warn that using the "like" button, especially on "stories at large" that "tug at your heartstrings" are started by and used by scammers:

Doug Gross of CNN writes: On Facebook, clicking 'like' can help scammers

However, I have since returned to using the "like" button, because, well, I LIKE it. But I find that I no longer do it automatically. I am now a more judicious user of the "like" button. Now I take the time to comment more often and I am enjoying FB more than ever. 

There is a whole science behind Facebook's algorithm. But in the end, it's still not human. And the human touch is what makes the difference in all of our lives. So, let's be kind to one another. Don't ignore your friends when they are online - MAKE A COMMENT; make a difference! 


Kate S. said...

Beautifully put. I absolutely love the poem and had a good laugh at its last line.

I think it would do us all lot of good to comment more openly on things we see and appreciate. (Hence this comment, haha.) In my case, my shoulder-devil whispers, "No, they weren't talking to you. No, that would be weird if you replied. No, just keep your thoughts to yourself and move along. They don't need or want you to say anything." And all too often, I listen.

So, sorry if this comment is weird/unwanted. I gave the shoulder-devil the boot, for the moment. :)

Stephanie Abney said...

Oh, Kate!! I LOVED your very welcome comment!! Thanks so much!