On the bulk of digital reactions: the Like buttons!

Foreword: It’s not as if I had nothing better to do at the moment. But this thought just struck me and I wanted to record it somewhere. Do read and react, if you want to. I can almost hear sarcasm floating around: “I bet you’re fun at parties”.


Like buttons are acknowledgments alright. But what use could they be of, if one is not able to smile/reply back to every individual ack? Do the numbers”50 favorites / 50,000 likes” really matter a lot? This thought is important if you ask me, since these reactions really have coaxed a lot of people around the world into doing crazy stuff, just for the likes. Guilty as charged, myself!

For example, if I upload a pic and get 50 likes, I would “know” that those people have seen it, thus giving me a sense of being around and appreciated by those 50 people while I had performed a stunt, or posed for a groupfie or merely clicked a duckface. Thence, explaining one of the reasons for the existence of these online social networks.

So, I could quickly jot down a few motives behind (or products of) this design element:

  • A psychological experiment (some kind of modified version of Big5?) ..by those social media companies, so to speak, analyze a human behavior? Like the latest reactions addition to Facebook.
  • Claim to fame/popularity, as in, for the celebrity profiles?
  • Somehow putting this feature as an input for various social recommendation algorithms?
  • If anything else, it just adds to a sense of social acceptance, a moral fulfillment by the person rooting for likes, and a sense of expressing an emotion towards the person rooting (or not rooting?) for those likes.
  • A way to intimate the person who is generating that content, a feeling, that their posts aren’t just being uploaded to a big void. That they are being seen, observed (or judged?). Sometimes a comment isn’t really needed. A comment like “haha/lol” could perhaps be replaced by a “reaction”, thus saving the data mining algorithms some effort of filtering stop words? or save the storage from those gazillions of hahas/lols nuking the servers?

A personal observation: Indians (myself, being one of them) get more likes on their content, in general, as compared to most of my really well doing friends from abroad. Population maybe? Or innate behavioral aspect?

I would recommend reading “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Nietzsche, who actually broke it down to pretty much rudimentary human traits, cleverly summarized into sentences of what it means to be one, at the least. Includes a lot of truth about hypocrisy and painful basic nihilistic questions though. Be warned, as I was, by a friend of mine. I am currently reading it myself.

By the way, this wiki page on “like button” should be updated with the “why” section. It currently has the “what” and “how” sections only.

Suggestions to this post / related thoughts are welcome! What do you think?


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