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…
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.