At one point Facebook was just a strict messaging system. There were no threaded comments and no Like buttons. But now the system has progressed to where the approval people get or don’t get makes some feel bad.
This has led the Facebook-owned Instagram to try out a system of hiding the number of Likes on some posts, and now Facebook is considering the same. Should social media continue to rely on “Likes?”
Andrew admits social media is free to evolve however they’d like, but he thinks the Like function is popular for a reason. “It provides a nice, low-effort way to interact with someone’s post and let them know you paid some attention to it.” He also feels it’s a good way to avoid repetition and rank response quality. He’ll just like a post instead of repeating someone else’s answers.
Yet, he does realize it can turn into “a bit of a popularity contest, and getting addicted to the dopamine bumps you get from Likes can be a real problem.” While he doesn’t see it going away completely, he thinks some changes could be beneficial.
Elsie notes that Likes can mean one of several things, depending on who is liking the post. While sometimes it may be “an accidental touch that goes unnoticed, other times it’s genuine or a friendly way of letting someone know they put in some effort or their post is helpful.”
For her, liking a post means she’d like to follow it to read the rest of the comments. If it’s in regards to new technology or car she’s interested in getting reviews for, she likes the post to get notifications. She doesn’t particularly understand the people who rely on how many Likes they get.
Sayak’s biggest pet peeve with social media is that “it allows the worst of ideas to be validated using like and retweets.” He feels in the past people would have kept their silly thoughts to themselves. He notes the amount of Likes a post gets doesn’t mean it’s healthy or relevant.
He adds that he thinks “social media sites should redesign their algorithms from where the posts and comments receiving the most likes show up on top, even though they derail the topic, to those comments which are meaningful to the discussions.”
I agree with Andrew that the Like button is a great way to acknowledge you read a post without having to leave a non-meaningful comment. Especially with the cases of congratulatory posts, although I still feel like I need to say congratulations, though it gets quite repetitive with everyone saying the same thing.
That said, I’ve also said there needs to be another Like button. Sometimes news articles that are shared aren’t likable, and I don’t want to express “anger” or “sadness” or “wow.” I sometimes wish there was a “shaking my head” button.
What’s your opinion on the Like button? Is it sometimes necessary? Is it overused? Does it lead to bad feelings? Should social media continue to rely on “Likes?” Leave your thoughts below.