In defense of the ‘like’ button

I recently received some very rude comments on my blog from somebody whose blog post I’d clicked on, simply because I’d clicked on their ‘like’ button. I’d never had any previous interaction with this individual; and this experience brought on the following reflection.

First of all, what was their criticism? Let’s get into that to understand what we’re talking about. In brief, they accused me of merely ‘liking’ their blog post and not taking the time to comment on it (of course, they expressed this in a much more obnoxious way). They also accused me of only pretending to be welcoming and and intruding on their blog space with my ‘like’. Because of their off-putting tone, I simply blocked them from commenting on my blog and deleted their comments, but here are a couple of thoughts I’d like to put out there for our community.

I. You can disable the ‘like’ button

Personally speaking, I would not recommend that anyone disable the ‘like’ button on their blog, but some bloggers, for their own various reasons, only want to receive ‘comments’ on their posts and don’t like receiving ‘likes’. So, putting aside my personal perspective on this approach for the moment, suffice it to say that anyone who doesn’t want to receive ‘likes’ on their blog posts can simply disable them.

I’m not going to provide instructions, but itself provides step-by-step instructions for all of us. Take a look – it’s very easy to do.

II. Receiving ‘likes’ causes no harm

I’ve seen other bloggers express the idea that receiving ‘likes’ from others on their blog posts essentially turns their blogs into billboards for others. Honestly, I simply don’t see it this way at all. The ‘likes’ we receive take up a tiny amount of space on our blogs, and there can potentially be many, many of them… So many, I’d say, that it’s unlikely anyone would take the time to click through every single user icon left by people who ‘liked’ a particular blog post.

If anything, a ‘like’ on one of your blog posts is more likely (please forgive me this pun) to draw your own attention to the individual who left you that ‘like’. And you can simply ignore ‘likes’ – if you consider them meaningless, for example, just ignore them… No biggie.

III. ‘Likes’ draw attention to your blog

Most bloggers, including me for sure, blog in part because they want their works to be viewed by others, right?

Well, let’s say you see a particular blog post that has received a lot of ‘likes’… What would your reaction be? Wouldn’t that make you a tad more curious, at the very least? Wouldn’t you be more likely to click on a stranger’s blog post if there are indications that many other people have taken the time to interact with it?

For me, ‘likes’ are a sign of what I’d call “social buy-in” – they are good to receive because they are likely to draw more potential readers and friends to my blog.

IV. ‘Likes’ are an easy way to express appreciation

Even the most active bloggers on WordPress don’t have the time to ‘comment’ on every single blog post they see and appreciate. Many of us have jobs, families, and other responsibilities that keep us busy. I do, for sure.

So, in this context, dropping a ‘like’ for someone is sometimes all that I have time to do. After blogging for a few years, I’ve developed a lot of relationships with other bloggers; and those friendships of mine always take precedence for me – I always take the time to read my friends’ blog posts before perusing other people’s blogs. My friends actively interact with me here at The Skeptic’s Kaddish, and I do my best to reciprocate, which doesn’t leave much time.

V. ‘Likes’ potentially lead to real relationships

I’m pretty sure that almost every single friendship I’ve formed via WordPress began with a ‘like’. When I was very new at blogging, more experienced bloggers were ‘liking’ my posts, drawing my attention to their blogs, and this is how I ended up meeting so many of you lovely people.

Of course, as our blogs grow, we form meaningful relationships with other bloggers through other means, like interacting with one another’s writing prompts, which is an even better way of beginning an interaction with someone. But… this is not at all to suggest that ‘liking’ other writers’ blog posts doesn’t have its place. Of course it does!

VI. Finally, on a personal note

It wouldn’t take someone new to The Skeptic’s Kaddish much more than a casual perusal to see that I take friendship, community-building, and reciprocity seriously.

The most ironic thing for me about those rude comments I received a couple days ago is that a different, kindly approach could have easily led to a friendly relationship.

I don’t discriminate against smaller blogs – if somebody interacts with me meaningfully, I always check out their blog, and this may lead to long-lasting relationships and even friendships.

Can anyone follow or form a meaningful relationship with every single blogger on WordPress? No, of course not. But – you never know, do you? You never know when a ‘like’ will lead to an exchange of ‘comments’ and eventually a ‘follow’ and a true friendship. Why not think of ‘likes’ as potential connections with other human beings? I do.

138 thoughts on “In defense of the ‘like’ button”

  1. Social Media can never replace in-person exchanges. Your experience is a good example of why that is the case, David. We can give a wave to a neighbor, and both of us can feel recognized. When I “like” a post, I’m acknowledging the person and their work. Sometimes “Life” doesn’t give me the time to say much more than hello.โค๏ธ

  2. When I first started blogging, I was puzzled by likes. Now I appreciate them the way I would a nod on the street or in an audience, an affirmation that someone saw my post out there, wherever. It’s one way we check in on each other. If the negative blogger insists on a comment, leave only “Nice” and leave it at that. Or maybe we can be more creative with our generic response.

    1. ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป Jnana ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿงก I wouldn’t mind doing that in general, but the comments were very off-putting. I’ll probably just avoid that blog in the future.


  3. If I have to comment on every post that I liked, I would run out of words, plus I would have no time for other things in life. And I only follow 70 blogs, and a lot of that 70 do not post daily.

  4. I personally love the like button. It lets me know that someone took the time to read my blog. I’ve met several bloggers through the like button! I can’t imagine someone taking offense at liking their blog…

  5. I don’t see what the problem is with getting likes. It’s a sign of appreciation of the post you made. There of course insincere people, but I think that’s just a minority. I “like” the like button.

  6. The only time likes irritate me is when someone leaves a long string of them all at the same time, which means they didnโ€™t read a single post. I just ignore them then. Iโ€™m more apt to check out someoneโ€™s blog if they leave only one or two likes, than say, ten or fifteen. And I know none of us has the time to make a comment on every single post we read, so dropping a like is fine with me.
    We all know our posts are read by non-bloggers who donโ€™t have a WordPress account, and to leave a like (or comment), said reader would have to create a WordPress account, which many wonโ€™t take the trouble to do. Thatโ€™s why I pay more attention to my stats than I do to likes; I know from โ€œviewsโ€ and โ€œvisitorsโ€ the true reach of my site.
    I knowโ€”I rambled a bit off the subject. I do that a lot. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I’m sorry you had a negative experience, earlier. That said, I’m always happy when I hear someone else did something foolish and it wasn’t me. It builds my self-esteem ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. You are right, David. They could’ve disabled the like button. I for one, like a post after reading it and don’t leave a comment unless I have something to share or have the time to leave a meaningful comment. I find it odd that their reaction was such.

  9. David, I’m sorry you experienced the rude comments but do not let it deter you! Keep writing and do not give that a second thought. Just my two cents ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I can’t deal with people who want things this way or that. Some posts I simply “Like”, others I’ll “Like” and leave a comment. It truly depends on the content, how I’m feeling, and if I have the brainpower to leave a comment.

    Well said, David. Thank you for sharing.

  11. I usually drop a like when I take the time to read, whether I actually agree or even like it. The fact is, the person shared some content and I got something in return, even if itโ€™s to hone some of my own arguments.
    I guess if you made someone mad youโ€™re doing something right! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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