The anatomy of a ‘like’

The other day, when I opened up my Instagram, I proceeded to click the little heart/like button on all the photos in my feed. I then moved over to Facebook and started to click ‘like’ on a bunch of things that my friends had posted. Then I stopped and started to think. Did I actually “like” what these people had photographed or shared? Or was I simply exercising an internal behavior to acknowledge what others say?

It got me thinking about what the purpose of the “like” button really is. In many ways, I often treat the “like” button as an “acknowledgement” button. It’s a way to say, “Ok, thanks, I heard you.” But is that really what I should use it for? Shouldn’t I really be reserving my “likes” to those things that stand out as something worth giving kudos on? Am I contributing to a culture of self-aggrandizing social exhibitionism by simply using the like button as an acknowledgement?

Perhaps I would be better served to actually reward kudos to those things that are really something I “like”. Maybe I should stop pressing the heart button on every Instagram photo, unless it’s something that truly grabs me. As someone who blogs everyday, I’m not looking for acknowledgement when I post something. I’m looking for people to give feedback and only give praise when I do something worth praising. Writing a daily blog is about discipline, and I know that there are a good number of days when I post something that isn’t the best it could be, but I’m exercising my creative brain, so I post what I can. Should people ‘like’ something that isn’t that great?

I’m sure I’m overthinking all of this way too much, but it was a thought that crossed my mind today, and I decided it was worth sharing.

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