Why the Like button is broken

It’s been a long time since i’ve written a stand-alone blog post. But there have been many instances recently in which people have been offended by the Facebook Like (or similarly, starring something on Twitter or Liking it on Instagram, +1 on Google+, etc.).

Let’s take an example to explain what i’m talking about. Suppose someone in your feed posts a cat video of someone tossing a cat into a bathtub. Someone else clicks “like”. How do you react? Before you answer, go watch this cat video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E0ZStiHNto

Now, here are several reasons someone might have posted it, and why someone else might have liked it:

  • was it funny? i mean, it’s a cat scrambling to get out of the water. how funny is that?
  • was it cute? it’s a cute fuzzy, drenched cat. cutest thing ever.
  • was it offensive? Call PETA – these guys are being cruel to that poor cat. Not only did they toss it in once “because it was hot and needed to cool off”, but they did it again, and didn’t help it when clearly it didn’t want to be in the tub
  • maybe they just clicked ‘like’ because of the person who posted it and they always click like on their posts

If you’re offended that someone clicked like, don’t assume you know their reason for the like. Maybe you think it’s cruel, and they thought it was funny. Maybe you hate cats and think it’s a good thing. There are many opinions in the world. Before you judge someone (not only for clicking like, but also for posting in the first place) – talk to them and find out why they liked it (or posted it), and see if you can come to some agreement. And don’t do this in a public thread on their page. Send them an email or call them or go over to their house and chat. It doesn’t need to turn into a flame war.

Respect each others opinions, find common ground. And, most importantly, as Bill & Ted would say: “Be excellent to each other”.