To Like In All Weather

This is another one of those things that I just can’t get my head around. Maybe it shows some hidden flaw in my character, but maybe not. There is a chance that others are just as stumped.

The cause of my confusion this early on a Sunday is this little blighter…

That’s right. I am confused by The Like.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand The Like, and (between you and me) I know how to use it… in happy situations.

“My book is free”- Like

“I am having a baby”- Like

“(Insert Title Here) Blog Post” –  Like

It is simple really, but is it. What about this sort of update.

“My mother just passed away”

“My daughter is in hospital”

“I lost my job today.”

Where does the wonderfully supportive Like button come into this equation. I have seen a few people Like these sort of updates, but not as many as normally would do the same for a positive update, from the same friend. I guess it goes beyond a matter of social protocol and comes more down in the realm of third-party perception. After all, every like or comment we leave is a small advert for ourselves too. This is nothing to do with selfishness  or even something intentional. Rather, it is a natural side effect of social media. Everything is an advert for ourselves.

Maybe you’re best friends with this person, this poster of sad news. Maybe your like will been seen by them as supportive and sympathetic. But what about the other people who see that status? Will these people, many of them probably strangers to you, see this like as a sign of affection or will they do a double take and think.That’s a bit harsh. Why Like that?

The last thing we want is for people to think we are cold and heartless. Whether we are authors, actors, or just a regular guy (or girl) looking to make some friends and enjoy the Facebook experience, perception is the key to making friends.

Maybe the use of The Like in these situations should be combined with a comment, a solid statement of condolence, or wishes of strength, maybe even offers of help or a should to cry on. This will show your true feelings and rest others assured that your Like was given with the best of intentions.

Maybe it is simply best to ignore The Like altogether, but then why do some people use it? Would you risk causing offense if you didn’t like a particular post from someone whose posts you always like, just because it is negative in context? Maybe it isn’t even the comment itself that we are liking, but rather the strength the person is showing by posting such a raw, painful, sensitive subject online for the world to see.

What do you all think of The Like, and how would you use it in the face of unhappy news.

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12 thoughts on “To Like In All Weather

  1. I don’t use The Like very often as I prefer to leave a comment if something has caught my attention but… maybe we need something like a ‘heart’ to show everything from sympathy to ‘gee I loved that XXXXXX’?

    1. A heart would be a great idea. I see a Facebook campaign coming on. haha. Ironically, no sooner had I posted this, a friend of mine on Facebook – granted one I have not really spoken too much before – posted that her brother in law had died during the night. I avoided the like, and as you say just left a comment offering my condolences.

      Have a great Sunday Andrea (Meeka) 🙂

  2. I use the like most often to say “I was here, saw your post, agreed/sympathised/read-the-link/whatever.” On a truly personal message I wouldn’t leave one, but I also wouldn’t be offended if someone did. You’d have to be LOOKING to get offended to think a friend was glad your brother died and decided to express that via Facebook.

    1. Thanks India, that is true, I would hope that people would understand that my use of the like was in sympathy, or in an offerance of condolences rather than any ill-spirited message. Thanks for commenting.

  3. I believe the `like`should read as an acknowledgement also. I do think though that as advanced as FB is that they are in the position to offer some other options but perhaps the list would confuse even more than now! Hearts are great but I have a feeling that the pages would quickly become inundated with hearts and people would start complaining 🙂

    1. That is true. The heart would open the door to all manner of symbol based tomfoolery. An acknolweldgement is a nice way to describe the like. It is simply a nod that you have read the post and want to show your appreciation / concern / sympathy etc.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. I have pondered this very question recently! I do not click ‘like’ if someone has posted a negative comment. If I feel the need to respond I will comment on their post. I always ‘like’ something if it makes me chuckle or I agree with the message. I always try to leave a comment, but sometimes there are no words beyond what has already been said (how can a writer say that?!)

    1. I am certainly leaning away from the idea of hitting ‘like’. As somebody on Linked In commented, Facebook has changed our perception of words, because clicking the Like button is also a sort of subscription. If you are interested in a post and would like to be kept up to speed then clicking ‘like’ is the thing to do.

      Great to hear from your Catherine, hope you are well.

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment Guy, and thank you for the Like. What you say is true, thanks to things like Klout.com another little obsession of mine, clicking the like button has taken social media status to a whole new level.

    2. Thanks for leaving a comment Guy, and thank you for the Like. What you say is true, thanks to things like Klout.com another little obsession of mine, clicking the like button has taken social media status to a whole new level.

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