Like vs. Silence on Social Media

I have never seen the Taj Mahal awash with moonlight on a Full Moon day. Or the Great Pyramid in the desert rising in grandeur in the yellow sands in front of me. I have never heard the lion’s roar in the wild. Nor can I remember what it must have been like to have seen the ocean for the first time.

But I can imagine what some of it must feel like.

It must be sublime. It must be spellbounding. It must be a moment so full of wonder that it must be the most difficult to express anything at all at the moment.

Now imagine that the Taj is virtual with a discreet like button next to it. Also imagine that you are a virtual tourist on your way to another site of attraction.

Would you pause a while spellbound in wonder at the beauty of it all or would you casually hit the like before moving on to the next site?

Would you be so overcome with indescribable feelings that you would just find it hard to articulate anything at all at a sight so out of your usual realm of experiences or would you just say “Hey, nice work Shah Jahan!” Like! and catch the bus to the train station?

Like or silence–what would your response say about you?

Now imagine you were the Emperor himself trying to assess the success of your aesthetic or architectural design by counting the reactions of visitors who had liked your masterpiece. How many came, how many liked vs. how many were just there.

How accurate would you be in linking appreciation in any way to an articulated response? How accurate would you be in expecting that response immediately as a like as opposed to an unarticulated response the next day or even a few days later or maybe even the next year depending on how grand your work had been? How accurate would you be in counting those numbers of reactions?

When watching a live performance, it is common to observe the most awe inspiring performances being greeted with a few moments of silence while good attempts being  greeted with immediate applause.

Can that silence be measured or assessed?

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54 thoughts on “Like vs. Silence on Social Media”

  1. I always used to study piece of writing in news papers but
    now as I am a user of internet therefore from now I am using net for articles or reviews, thanks to web.

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  2. Lovely post. I agree with you in that it would be far more telling to assess how much time one spent before liking or leaving. If anything inspires people to spend time to get to feel it, it has captured an audience.

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  3. Reblogged this on Club Fang and commented:
    I feel like this addresses a major gap in the social media experience versus live experiences. Silence during a live performance, or standing in awe of the magnificent, can speak volumes. Silence on social media, from a data-gathering/marketing/promotional/monetizing perspective, means you’re doing something wrong. And yet, it could be that someone took in your post, absorbed it, and for whatever reason carried on with their day without further action. It by no means indicates an unsuccessful post, but it is not ‘measurable’ through data. Unlike an in-person experience, it’s the ‘social’ that truly counts in social media, at least for the analysts…

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  4. I’m not a big fan of the ‘like’ button (but I did push it for this post). I think I do it automatically now if I read a post and like it.

    As far as the old days go it was a bit nicer when someone would come up to me in the street and say ‘I really liked your book’ – it’s far more personal and not so much of an automatic reaction if we’re too busy to comment but feel like we should leave ‘something’ ;)

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  5. I found this a brilliant piece, and it took me way beyond my blogging thoughts and concerns into that wide open country you pointed to about the presence of awe in our lives. You’ve given me much food for thought with your words.. thank you.

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  6. I use the like button to say Hi, I’ve been here and read your post and I want you to know that I thought it was worth reading. I might leave no comment because of a lack of time or simply because I was happy with what I read, but didn’t feel I could add to it, or because others had already said what I would say. Sometimes I read grim posts on war. I find it difficult to press the Like button, but I have learned to just to say, I came and I’m glad you wrote this.

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  7. Once again, you write a thought provoking post. The way I use the “like” button varies as to the day I’m reading. I may enjoy a post but sadly, have a million things to do so I at least hit the like button. Other times I like the post but don’t feel moved to make a comment. Or someone may have already said what I was going to say. I guess we never know the meaning of the likes, or the thoughts of those who read but don’t comment.

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  8. Always feel that the Like button doesn’t reflect true feelings… or even a comment. But I fear time is often against us online… unlike the time I wandered in awe around the Taj Mahal.

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  9. There is validity in what you are conveying. I leave comments on just a few choice blogs of which one of them is yours and a few others I follow closely. However, it does not mean I am not “liking” something else that someone has written. Time constraints to play a part in that. Yet for what ever reason, I am led to certain blogs by perhaps a Godly intervention to help me see the day in a different perspective. Bottleworder- you bring me in a realm worth reading about.

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  10. Reblogged this on Between Worlds and commented:
    I’ll use this as the reasoning for why most of my posts get no comments and very few likes. In all sincerity, though, this is a good point. Sometimes a “like” does seem like an odd way to express your feelings about what you read or saw.

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  11. Interesting post. I don’t always leave comments especially if I’m coming to the party late and the author has not replied to existing comments. Unless, I feel very strongly about the topic.I use Like to show support regardless of whether or not a comment was made. Silence can be misinterpreted, so I prefer to leave something.

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  12. I’m never sure when to press “Like” and often use it as as an acknowledgement/nod, a kind of “I hear you” notice.
    As much as counting “Likes”, what about pingbacks – those are the ones that mean people have gone away, thought about it, and made an explicit link some time later. Would they get double points?
    “I liked the performance so much I bought the DVD/downlioaded the tracks” (unless you are Victor Kiam and buy the company)
    Great post :-)

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  13. For me, I use the ‘like’ button on WordPress when I stop by and read the article. If I find it really interesting, I would comment, if there’s something to comment about.

    Over on Facebook, I used the ‘like’ if I actually like something that’s been posted, adding a comment if needed. It’s simply because we also get bad news over the Facebook feed and it doesn’t seem right to simply click ‘like’ on those.

    That’s generally it for me.

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  14. Interesting post and most of us here can relate to it:-)I am one of those who rarely hit the “like” button unless I have something to say-no wonder I find it tough to manage my time and mind you am not an “impassioned” writer like many of you here nor a “prolific” blogger-nor do I work at a job-still it is tough.So I can well imagine if fellow bloggers,readers or followers do not find time to read,like or comment on what I write-one of the reasons I have “un-followed” many as neither party visits,likes or comments anymore.I also agree that appreciation is always welcome and I try to return the favour as often as possible if someone takes the time to come by to read what I write:-)

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  15. Many of us question this ‘like’ button. When I am finished reading a beautiful poem, article, short story or book, I am speechless. A blog post allows spontaneous response and the ‘like’ button is similar to the bravo at the end of a concert. For me, when I am touched, moved or simply interested by a post I will more likely comment than ‘like’. On the other hand, there are so many blogs and so little time than a ‘like’ is a small ‘hi, I read you and I like what you wrote.’
    I’m not too worried about human beings still being able to be quiet. I think nature has still the power to leave us speechless.

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  16. In my experience, appreciation requires readiness, a period of silence, and time for it to sink in.
    Another question: Seeing the Taj Mahal for the first time, how would the experience be affected by having previously seen photos of it? Would one be more filled with wonder having already known of its beauty? Or would the person who didn’t know it existed appreciate it more?

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  17. I don’t know that likes (or silence) are accurate indicators of anything. Some people click ‘like’ almost automatically, while others rarely at all. Of course I love to have ‘likes’ on a post, I don’t feel completely worthless if I don’t have many likes on a post.

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  18. More often than not, I find the “Like” button very convenient because I rarely have words I deep strong or interesting or important enough to contribute anything, so I can still offer my appreciation for something I enjoy without merely regurgitating what’s already been said. I find myself often wishing for “like” buttons on blog comments, because I agree so much with what someone’s commented, but have nothing else to really add. It’s a way to add my voice in, despite not having those words.

    That said, I’m both commenting AND liking this post, because I not only enjoyed it, but I also felt I had something to add. :) That’s always the best of both world.

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  19. I personally believe that we live in a world where we have stopped noticing one another. We have stopped making eye contact, we have stopped smiling and we have stopped saying hello. I wrote a post on this like button thing a short time ago. I, however love when someone likes and comments and personally choose to like everything I like and comment on everything I love. I hope it makes a small difference in somebody’s day and maybe if I acknowledge someone’s writing, it will inspire them to write some more ;)

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  20. Very astute post today, Miz Drops. VERY astute. And thank you. From a fellow blogger who experiences the same thing. But there is so much out in cyber world, that it is hard to get people to take time to stop, pause, think and comment. And, like wise, as a writer—how much time do I expend to try and support all who I read and follow? We writers have are supposed to be writing, aren’t we?

    It is a conundrum. But I like you–will at least be grateful for a “Like” when I cannot get any written responses, or dialogue back. We simply have to keep at it, don’t we?

    Often times I run into someone locally who will tell me they read everything I write, “but I don’t comment.” And every now and then, the more strong-armed verbal side of me (which I do keep under control) wants to say: Why in the h— can’t you take time, if you liked it so well??

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    1. I’ve felt the same but then realized that not everyone subscribes to the blogging culture. They read newspapers and articles online but aren’t at the stage yet where they’re used to writing comments themselves. At other times, of course, they’re doing relaxing, passive reading and think it’s too much trouble to comment. I like to think that likes and comments, for a writer, are a privilege, not a right!

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      1. Likes and Comments become gifts–and if we live with gratitude, we accept what we are given. ;-) I frequently have to remind myself: NOT everyone is a writer—or wants to be a writer—and thus, writing a comment on a blog simply isn’t in their nature. So be it.

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  21. It is funny that I stumbled on this particular post tonight. I manage a few blogs and by manage I mean, I write sporadically on them. Today, after publishing a short erotic post last night, I noticed today – in passing – that the page had been viewed 30 times. And of those 30 times – only 2 likes.

    I try to not judge my success based on like or silence – I enjoy writing and it is a passion but in saying that – I base my “confidence” in publishing like vs silence. The “Likes” let me know that something I have to say is hitting a chord or discord and it keeps me motivated.

    I guess we would appreciate a little more “Like” in our lives.

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  22. I try to remember that a like or no likes has very little to do with actual responses to what I write on my blog or the validity of anything in particular. Too bad someone hasn’t come up with better choices besides “like.”

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  23. In the highly unlikely event that you’re taking readers to task for their silence, I will say this: I’m a cavalier, somewhat trigger-happy ‘liker’, but this is usually because I read others’ blogs while in transit and am unable to compose thoughtful responses. The like button, I reason, is a minor acknowledgment, a little pat on the back; I don’t mean to patronise anyone.
    Other times I arrive at blog posts that are days, weeks, or even YEARS old. Everything that can be brought to the discussion has been said. The argument, as it were, is dead. In this event, I throw a ‘like’ the author’s way to signify that I was there, that I gleaned something worthwhile from the discussion. Personally, I despise commenting if it’s just to echo others’ preexisting thoughts. I see that a lot on the music community site, Last.fm. I kind of feel like unless you’re going to contribute something worthwhile to a discussion then you might as well say nothing at all. (Evidently I’m not adhering to that now, though!)

    Great post, as always. The digital frontier is still bewildering st times.

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    1. Great observations here. My point above was really meant to be open ended. I can only imagine what it felt like in the olden days when people exchanged their writing and then exchanged letters about them. I’m not very mystified about comments but “like” is a much more indeterminate marker of a response. As a writer, one would rather have a “like” rather than silence. Yet it isn’t easy to understand. As a reader, for the really brilliant posts, I’ve sometimes felt reluctant to let go of the mood a good piece has put me into, break it, lift my hand, and hit the “like” button. It has seemed inadequate. Yet I may not have wanted to put enough effort or may not have had the time or may not have had a supply of well-formulated ideas enough to comment! So the “like” has left me more dissatisfied than satisfied as a reader.

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  24. What an excellent post. I loved it, and I wasn’t sure if I should “like” it or comment or both, and ended up in silence over it. And now I’m liking and commenting just to say BRAVO.

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  25. Oh dear. Were you speaking directly to me? I regularly follow your blogs and always revel in their poetry and astuteness. Just this past week you wrote about the chill of winter by citing the little brown leaf. I whined in mine (my husband said) about our new challenge with life in Minnesota and the trauma of our almost impassable driveway. I sometimes chastise myself for not writing as much and as well. “Listen to this,” I call out to my husband, “Bottledworder nailed it again.” And every time I want to comment and tell you how you inspired me. Well, I’m finally doing it now. Yes, I’m hitting the “like” button at the same time I’m sitting quietly and meditating on your thoughts.

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