There has been a lot of traffic on Micro Blog about ‘like’ buttons - as in should there be one? Some of those conversations have been repackaged and moved into other places - like this one from Dave Winer.
The challenge is that writers tend to see the like as a ‘nod’ of agreement with what they have written .. or at least as some kind of feedback …
“In real life there’s all kinds of non-verbal communication. you can nod your head, smile. We’ve come up with a similar language online, I don’t think there’s any more meaning in this. We’re being human. Not a huge surprise.”
💬 Dave Winer
I’m not so sure. I am far from consistent as to how I use likes and I am guessing I am not alone. BUT … But the point of this post is not to provide a counter argument - but rather highlight the inadequacy of the like button a measure of popularity.
You won’t have missed yesterday’s news of the passing of Jeff Beck.
Patti Smith used her newsletter to share the news and a link to just one example of Beck’s extraordinary guitar playing.
As of this morning she has 326 likes and 59 comments …. it is clear from the comments the sentiment - but the likes?
What are they liking?
- The news he is dead?
- The track from ‘Amused to Death’?
- That the ‘liker’ is flagging their solidarity with her and Roger’s position on Palestine?
- The fact she posted something - and they are bookmarking ‘seen’?
- They just ‘auto like’ everything - and haven’t even read it? Because even Readwise users, who you would have thought actually did … well … read! … don’t.
To be clear, I have no horse in the race. IF @manton added like buttons here -
- it wont be the end of the world
- i bet whether they are enabled will be under my control
Back to Jeff … one of the best comments was a simple