It’s kind of funny and maybe a little lame, but I’ve gotten into a couple of debates tonight on the meaning of ‘Like’ on Facebook, specifically when somebody ‘Likes’ a story of somebody being injured or dying.
My assumption is when somebody ‘Likes’ something that is tragic they are generically throwing their support behind the story or they just want to stay informed. It just kind of annoys me when people comment things like, “What kind of idiot likes the fact that someone was hurt in a wreck?” or “Not that it matters, but why ‘like’ this? A person died. Do you like it because it wasnt worse, because 2, 3, 4 ,10 people didnt die, no one died on the ground, what?”
Tonight I decided to try to put the debate to rest, and I feel a did a pretty good job. I am posting a little banter back and forth between me and a couple of other Facebook users. I’m doing this partly because I think it finally solves the debate, and partly because I thought it was humorous.
FB User: What kind of idiot likes the fact that someone was hurt in a wreck?Me: What kind of idiot takes ‘Like’ on Facebook literally.FB User 2: How else are you supposed to take that Brandon?Me: I tend to give somebody the benefit of the doubt that they aren’t a heartless monster. Given the fact their isn’t a ‘follow’ option or similar, and maybe they don’t have anything to comment, but they would like to see if anybody comments more information they click ‘Like’.FB User: Well considering, it says like, and if you know what the hell the word means then you take it literally. I guess you just run around spoutin s**t off that you expect people to not take literally?Me: Depends… an intelligent person can usually tell when something is literal or not. “It’s raining cats and dogs”, “you scared the crap out of me”, “this thing weighs a ton”, “I’ll be there in a second”. Those are some phrases I spout off that I expect people not to take literally.FB User: So you say I like what you got me or I like what you’re wearing and people aren’t supposed to take that literally? Wow what a quack you are. And I mean that literally.Me: You literally mean I am the sound a duck makes? If somebody says they like what you’re wearing then you usually take them literally. The fact of the matter is ‘Like’ on Facebook is too broad to speculate on. You assumed that liking the story meant they liked that somebody was injured. They might like that [page that posted this story] made the information available, or they like that the man wasn’t killed, or they were using like as a feature to keep up on a story, maybe they just wanted to throw their support behind a story without commenting. Maybe they were just trying to improve [page that posted this story]’s feedback percentage on their post analytics. In my opinion all of these are valid reasons to click ‘Like’.FB User: … can someone show me the facebook manual where it says that the like button is to stay informed? Please by all means if there is one let me know, and ill retract all my comments and offer a public apology.FB User: Oh wow brandon, you got me on the duck comment, and lost me with the post anlalytics thing. Either way, I guess I’m the only one that doesn’t know about the like button being used as a tool to follow a story.Me: ”‘Like’ is a way to give positive feedback or to connect with things you care about on Facebook.” I think the ‘Like’ on this story probably falls under the “connect with things you care about on Facebook.” so by definition in Facebook’s own help system ‘Like’ is not always literal. This case could even be categorized as positive feedback to [page that posted the story] to let them know we appreciate what they are doing.