Regular Facebook users are aware of the importance of “likes” concerning their posts and the posts of friends. In this brief treatise we will explore the various types of “likes” and the meaning or purpose behind each.
- The “Like” like. This is your basic garden-variety statement of appreciation for a post from a friend. Straightforward, no hidden meaning.
- The “Obligatory” like. Used when a good friend posts something long and involved, or deeply personal. Used when you don’t bother to read the post or follow the link, or are uncomfortable with the subject matter.
- The “Defensive” like. Used when you are indifferent to a post by a friend, but you don’t want them ignoring your future posts. It’s not that you actually like the post; it’s more that you don’t want your future posts ignored or, worse yet, criticized for being insipid, wrong or politically unpalatable.
- The “Indifferent” like. I don’t really like it, nor do I really NOT like it. In fact, I don’t really like YOU, nor do I really NOT like you. The WTF like.
- The “Mercy” like. For those long, drawn-out posts about obscure, usually family or cat-related posts, which have drawn exactly zero likes in 24 hours.
- The “Dislike” like. FB has made the decision not to make a Dislike button available. As a result, when your neighbor’s roof gets blown off or their child suffers a sprained ankle, you are reduced to just “liking” it. As if.
- The “Quid Pro Quo” like. Similar to #3 above, used by prolific posters to inoculate themselves against being ignored by their hundreds of followers. If I like one of Tony S’s posts, even though I loathe most of them, I may get an occasional like thrown my way, even though most of my posts cause him to gag in his echo chamber.
- The “Better Than Your Usual Drivel” like. Say your neighbor posts lots of stuff about kittens, or a friend from high school posts a thousand bowls of Pablum about God and how much he loves you. One day they post a relatively funny video of a guy getting dragged across his front yard by his lawnmower. This deserves a like.
- The “Sheer Weight of Posts” like. You’ve reluctantly friended someone you knew years ago who seems to do nothing all day but post stuff on Facebook, mostly widespread shares. You should like every 50th one, just to let him or her know you’re still in the game.
- The “Pretty Sure My Friends are going to Hate Me” like. Your family tells you over and over that when you go political on FB it gives them hives, then someone posts a John Stewart or Paul Krugman clip that just rocks. You go ahead and like it, adding an acute comment in the process, but must prepare for the slings and arrows from those near and dear who disapprove.
- The “Even Though 8,000 Other People Have Already Liked It” like. Posts from huge pages like Elmore Leonard, The Christian Left, etc., which are more like web pages than FB posts, but are so good you can’t help but become #8,001.
- The “In the Mood to Like Everything” like. When it’s late at night and you’ve been away from FB for a while, catching up on 500 posts, as midnight approaches you just go ahead and like everything, without even reading it, in order to avoid possibly hurting someone’s feelings, possibly a parent or child. “‘Tis easier to like and not care than to care and not like.”
Please feel free to share other types I’ve missed, as there are probably dozens. If you do, I promise to like them.