My problem with the Facebook or blog ‘like’.
During my India travels last month (see previous posting) I sometimes gave my legs a break from striding along dusty streets and found refuge in an internet café.
I spent my limited online time sending email dispatches to my family, so I had just one brief look at Facebook during the whole five weeks; meanwhile, LinkedIn was untroubled by my presence and not a Twitter tweet was read or composed.
But I did have time to think about the ‘like’ option on Facebook.
Although I can appreciate the rationale behind this ‘like’ business – it’s a way of acknowledging someone’s striking photo or witty reflection without needing to think of a suitably original or amusing comment to make – there is a flaw.
Imagine for a moment that I am in the habit of following closely someone’s thoughts and theories on Linkedin, and commenting on them. If they post something and, on one occasion, notice that this time I haven’t made any comments or even ‘liked’ it, they might come to a very erroneous assumption about what is going on. They might think my silence means I found their statement or view disagreeable, or perhaps they will conclude I didn’t find it interesting enough to bother with. Or they might just think I’m away somewhere on holiday and haven’t read it.
So, a message to all writers of blogs and linkedin postings and facebook ramblings: just because I haven’t ‘liked’ your outpouring doesn’t mean I disliked it (or wasn’t interested, or didn’t read it). Bear in mind the silence from their readership that newspaper columnists have always had to endure: while a few readers might write letters, there is no way for the rest to simply say “I liked that”.