Do you love it when people comment on, and “like” your posts?
I certainly do. I think, most bloggers in their right mind do. (No, I am not talking to you Mr. or Ms. Introverted who are just happy all alone with your blog, if you like it that way, that, too, is totally fine – just, you know, don’t feel upset if I read it and occasionally say something!) But realistically, most of us write on the net in order to get our message out to the general public and hopefully interest them in it, whatever that message may be. It is a way to interact with the entire world (or well, the internet-connected part of it), and reach out.
So far so good. WordPress (with whom I have no quarrel on this subject whatsoever, just so we get this clear!) provide us with a lovely (and free to use, unless we want extra perks) platform for our blogs, and among the features they have very kindly built in, is the “like” button. When it was initially introduced, I thought it was a great idea. In fact, I still think it is, except it is in relation to the sadly common (and growing more so) use of said “like” button that I have developed my new pet dislike (not ‘pet hate’, hate is too strong a word for something like this).
What is it that I have come to dislike enough to write a full-blown rant about? It is, my fellow bloggers and readers, the bloggers who sweep through categories of blogs on WordPress home page, “liking” every single new thing that comes through. I have seen them on many a site, and I have begun to take notice, and I see more and more of them as time goes by. Sadly. What is it that I notice? Well, for example, for all they “like” what must be hundreds of blogs (because I don’t read a hundred blog posts every day and even I have begun to notice the same people liking things I read – be it blogs I subscribed to, or new content that I get from browsing the WP “Food” category), they never, ever comment. Ok, that may be an exaggeration, but I haven’t, in all of my reading and noting things like that (In case you are wondering, I have a very good visual memory and an eye for patterns), seen even a single comment by those people.
Before I go any further, simply “liking” and then not commenting is fine. That is perfectly fine. The “like” button is there for a reason and that reason is so you can just show appreciation of something in a single click. This is not the behavior I am describing – what I am talking about are the people who “like” things immediately, and without any apparent pattern and in all-encompassing numbers. The ones who couldn’t possibly have read and had reason to like all of those immense numbers of blogs it took for me to notice that it is all they apparently do.
They are usually the first to silently “like” new posts (on random blogs), and when I go back to said blogs if I have left comments, there are never any by them later on, either. I mean, it’s easy to “like” something quickly if you don’t need to read the thousand-or-more words in the post, right? How hard is clicking a button? First!
So they like everything, but bother to comment on none of it? What gives?
My misantropic side is the one which has, sadly, suggested the answer which I assume (for the moment) to be correct. I can’t stand it when my misantropic self is right, for the record. I’d love it if it was always wrong. Basically, these are people who have decided that the “like” button is their new free ticket for blog traffic. No need to do lengthy things like read, comprehend, evaluate and comment on posts anymore! That’s for suckers! These uber-clickers have ascended to a new level and can just breeze through the blogs, clicking the little star buttons, and if they click enough of them, surely at least some gullible souls would go to their gravatar to see who this person who routinely “likes” their articles (or even liked one once) was.
It’s not, technically, a violation of any rule that I can think of. It’s just the electronic equivalent of such full-of-carp (and I don’t mean the fish here!) social tactics as approaching someone at a large corporate event or party, handing them your business card and saying “you do great work, we have to network!”, never bothering to find out what it is they even do, in hopes of having some business come your way for no more effort than that. It is the cheapening of the point of blogging, very much in a similar vein as the blog content guild do – by trolling the gullible. Only the “pay” in this case is less in money for having their links inserted into your blog post, but in the traffic they hope to generate from the little avatar they leave stuck on your blog post. To add insult to injury, I don’t think you can remove specific “likes” from your blog – and I don’t want to block the option entirely, since many people actually do use it well and the way it was intended.
Now, before people I don’t intend to attack get offended – I am not saying you shouldn’t like blog posts! By no means! I do it myself quite often. But you know what? If I read a blog post and I like it, chances are I also have a couple of words to say to the writer, about having liked the post, if nothing else. About what I liked about it, or how I’d do things differently. About the post itself. Because I’ve read it first, before I clicked that star button.
A late disclaimer, but it fits into the closing comments – this post is not about telling anyone what to do. In the blogosphere, it’s really none of my right, morally speaking. But, I hold myself to a high standard of blog and general net etiquette – always linking to those I should give credit to, giving credit on images if they aren’t mine, asking people before reblogging something which isn’t obviously public, etc. You know, common courtesy in the virtual world. I don’t necessarily hold others to that standard – but those people who consider me so gullible that they think clicking the “like” button on my blog (and every other one among those I read regularly and randomly come across) will get my respect or interest, those people are sorely mistaken.
As I finish editing this post, a notice pops up that yet another one of those “frequent offenders” have liked something on my blog recently, and I no longer feel any doubt about writing or posting this rant. Some things are just not ok with me, and I strongly believe in saying what I think.