The ‘Like’ Complex
Social networks are based around one thing: interactions between you and your friends. There are two main varieties of these interactions: commenting, and liking. Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and even Google+ all have some variation of a like button, and the majority of the time it’s used way more than anything else.
Scrolling through any of my timelines these days, the single most used interaction seems to just be the ‘like’ button. A friend will post a nice photo of a place they were at, an event that took place, or of themselves sporting a new look, and you’ll see tons of likes, but rarely will you see someone comment on it.
And the networks seem to encourage this. Depending on the app, you’ll get notified with every like or favorite. And most of these apps have a tally of likes as one of the main features of the UI. Sure, they’ll have a comment box, but the liking is at the forefront: a cute little heart will appear when you like a photo on Instagram, and a gold star lights up when you favorite a tweet on Twitter. When liking is simply a double tap or keyboard shortcut away, it’s an effortless thing to do.
Now, if I see something neat posted by a friend, I’ll comment on it. To me, it seems to have a lot more value than a simple like. I’ll compliment their photo in general or reply to their question, and I feel that actually writing out a comment is a lot nicer, and means a lot more to them. I try to make their day, even if it is just a simple compliment on their post. It’s strange to see a status where a question is being asked and all you see is people liking it. Actually making a comment and trying to have a conversation has become nonexistent, and I’m trying to make that not be the case.