Let’s Get Back to Real Interactions: Commenting vs. ‘Like’-ing on Facebook

Of all the social media platforms, Facebook is the one I’m on the most. I can get drawn in by cute cat videos, spectacular b&w photography images, fun with puns, and the variety of posts my friends share.

I admit to being a bit heavy-handed when it comes to clicking the ‘Like’ button. I sign on, start scrolling through posts, when I see something, I like it, I click ‘Like’ to let folks know I was there, and move on.

But now that has changed.

The other day, a friend posted an interesting article that has led to this post.

The article is “I Quit Liking Things on Facebook for Two Weeks. Here’s How It Changed My View of Humanity.” I hope you’ll read through it.

FB_likeThe first item that jumped out at me was that each ‘Like’ becomes part of an algorithm that will throw certain posts in my feed. That’s annoying. I like thinking for myself, thankyouverymuch!

The  second item, the one that got me thinking was about building relationships. I’ve clicked ‘Like’ to let friends know I saw their post, was happy for what was posted, that I truly liked what was posted, that I simply saw the post and was acknowledging it…basic things.

But after reading the article, I see the value in comments more than Likes, although sometimes there are just times to click the Like – such as when someone comments on a post I’ve made – clicking the Like for that response can sometimes be enough. Otherwise, there might be a battle to who is going to comment last, right?

After sharing the post on my wall, I had a few comments, but also had some private messages. And Wow! Private messages are ‘real’ conversations with real people in real time! How great! It felt strange, too. I mean, social media is fast-moving – you click, scroll, keep moving – who has time for an in-the-moment conversation any more?

I found that I did and I enjoyed it. I’m trying to limit my ‘Like’-ing now on Facebook and commenting on posts that catch my attention instead.

Of course commenting does take more time out of the day than a fast click of the ‘Like’ button, but overall, I feel I’ll be more satisfied with the result.

If you’re on Facebook, what do you think about ‘Like’-ing versus commenting, emailing, and messaging?

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She likes a lot of things on Facebook, but is going to give commenting (instead of hitting the Like button) a chance. You can connect with her on Twitter, FacebookGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

69 thoughts on “Let’s Get Back to Real Interactions: Commenting vs. ‘Like’-ing on Facebook

  1. Thought I would comment on this, as I am sure there is some irony somewhere about if I just left a like to the article. Getting comments, feedback and discussion going as a result of some you share on facebook is a lot more interesting than just getting a load of likes

  2. I’m amused that you already have 5 likes of this post! 🙂 I completely agree with you on Facebook likes (specifically). I personally feel it can make me lazy in reaching out to people if I know they’ve seen I liked something they’re doing or something that has happened to them. I either always leave a comment now, message them, or if it’s really big news, nothing works better than a call or a personal letter via snail mail. I especially like the latter – nothing makes someone feel more in your thoughts than a letter or card, and certainly better than a click on their status!

  3. I just had a conversation on this very topic a couple of days ago with another writer, who said that the ‘like’ button was enhancing social laziness. I thought it was a strong statement, and a strong sentiment, but on greater reflection, I have to agree. There’s a phrase ‘time poor’, that people are ‘time poor’ now, but everybody gets the same amount of time in the day, and there are still people who make the time to socialise. In the end, our lives are truly summed up by the connections we’ve made with other people, because it’s not our things or our jobs that remember us when we’re gone.

  4. I tend to “like” things a lot, and share them too. I do comment sometimes, but not as often. Messages are nice, but I find that using LINE helps me keep in touch with people around me more easily, and that Facebook is more where I like and share things I see, or for keeping in touch with people who are in other countries.
    I do like comments though, whether they’re on Facebook or my blog 😉

  5. Wonderful post. I agree that with the ability to just click on a pre-created button it’s so easy to make your interactions with people something more superficial. I think we’ve forgotten the reason for social media was to connect us to people we couldn’t see everyday. But what’s the point if your connection is boiled down to like or not like? Being a writer, I understand the power of the carefully chosen word or phrase and I appreciate the time it takes to write a post and comment on one.

  6. That’s a great idea, Lisa. I’ve found myself getting too much in the “Like” habit lately, too. If I can get myself to offer a comment (here, for example), there’s a lot better interaction, more chances for the subtleties and nuances of real human communication. One thing I’ve noticed, too, about the whole “Like” “Unlike” thing, is that it’s too binary. What if I’m apathetic about something? I neither Like nor Unlike it. Or maybe I REALLY Like or Unlike something.

    Excellent idea, and I’m gonna try to get myself to comment more.

    • I’ve had that quandry too — neither like nor dislike — seems like it should be one or the other, but sometimes it just isn’t. Commenting at least forces the thought process a bit more — makes me think about what it is that specifically leapt out at me to begin with.

      The other thing with the Like (FB or blogs), you just become part of a number of the total Likes. Our name appears in a stream somewhere as having clicked the Like button, but more times than not, it’s hidden — so no one, except us, knows that we clicked the Like.

  7. That was a great share Lisa, thanks. I’ve grown a tainted heart as of late being sucked in by the evening news and the LIKE syndrome you’ve pointed out here. I’m going to do this experiment myself and see if the sun shines just a little brighter than it used to.

  8. The like button holds true for any social media outlet, whether it be Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Twitter has it’s favorite button but that actually has a broader meaning. Seeing a lot of likes can lift a spirit but the truth is, who is actually reading what you wrote?? This is especially true when it comes to the WordPress Reader. At least you can tell they’re not reading because your views don’t go up…there’s no actual click through. I always try to click through & comment as much as possible. True, we are strapped for time and tend to just scan but imagine what you could be missing!! Even a simple “beautifully written” can make someone’s day.

  9. I’m a Facebook critic to the core and jump to side with the faintest notion that it is bad for humanity. I dislike the like function. And was so glad to see this post! However I think I must start to see the positivity in Facebook and use to start having those real conversations.

  10. I don’t know which is more interesting, this article OR the fact that I read the article and the attached link even though I am not on FB! Why did I? Bc I was a FB user for years and years and when I finally pulled myself away, for various reasons, I had withdrawals! One day I’ll be back on FB and I’ll remember this.

  11. Sometimes I click the like button to let my friends know I’m still there. However when strange people show up and ask you to like their page I find it annoying. How many pages do I put on my blog to advertise their goods. I stopped clicking the like button on many.

    • Oh yeah, I hadn’t considered liking a person’s Page — and I get so many of those requests to like a person’s page too — if I don’t know the person or haven’t read the book or, whatever it is, I don’t like it. I need to have some connection or interest before I Like a page. 🙂

  12. I loved this article…I almost pressed the like button, because I liked what I read so much. I feel that the ease of social media has taken us hostage. It’s made us forget about the little things…like face-to-face conversations…a phone call to hear a dear friends voice. Social media is a good quick fix…but is it making the world forget how to interact with real people? The human touch…is calming to ones spirit when flustered. Texting can’t do that for you. A smile…that twinkle in a loved ones eyes…can’t be conveyed on social media. Not the up close and personal…things needed. Those things can’t be exchanged…and felt deeply with a text…nor by hitting a like button. I’d like to thank you for bringing this important fact to our attention. Have you hugged a friend today?
    -Terri A. Durden

    • My pleasure, Terri. I’m really happy to see this post generating so much conversation – it’s showing me how much I appreciate comments, but also need to comment more myself – whatever platform I’m on.
      Haven’t seen any friends today to hug…but I have smiled and said ‘hello’ to random strangers while I’ve been out and about today! 🙂

  13. The “like’ happens when we want to say that we have read something, and we are glad that it was posted, but that we don’t have time to comment. I know that I enjoy reading comments on my blog, but I appreciate the ‘like’ button pushed as well. Oftentimes, people aren’t quite sure what to write, or how to comment, but at least, they are communicating. Not everyone who reads post has as much ease with the written communication as those who write them. That all being true, I rather agree with the whole social laziness and most of what people have stated here. A thought provoking post. Thanks for sharing it.

    • I agree with the reasoning, Wendy… the Like is a handy tool – kind of like a wave as we pass by in a car on the highway… we’re acknowledging we saw something but don’t have time to stop and chat.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post – and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  14. I like to like and I like to be liked. Not going to lie. It lets me know that someone actually took the time to read what I wrote or posted or pasted or whatever….but comments are where it’s at for me. Also know that you get out of things what you put into them. I should not expect comments just because I added my two cents, that would be where the social part comes into play. Great post!

  15. Such an interesting view of how we engage with friends and family on Facebook. It’s funny how we convince ourselves that we’re offering a form of approval by simply clicking a button, and yet if we actually just put aside a minute or two to communicate with words it would be so much more rewarding!

  16. hey, interesting article – and I’ll try it too, why not? I like to comment – I just like to have my say, plus it’s nice to have conversations. Having worked in social media, I use my like button to support other people in their fb journey – because as we know, every like, comment and share lifts them up in the algorithm. But…I wasn’t thinking about how that was affecting my own feed. So…I’ll try it. No liking just commenting for a week 🙂

  17. Truly interesting post. I never realized how technically and socially damaging a simple button could be. It certainly takes longer to write comments, but I have always noticed that my friends actually acknowledge comments (and even comment back) but simply count the number if likes, not even taking notice of whom is doing the liking. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Great post. Just within the past month I decided to ‘like’ less and to ‘share’ even less than that. I wanted to form my timeline as to what was really ‘me’ or else my timeline looked like a mishmash of a myriad of thoughts, pictures. I came away thinking that my timeline was actually quite boring and not ‘me’ at all. I am becoming a bit more discerning on what I like and it works for me. Thanks for this post.

    • You’re welcome. For me, I like the variability of my timeline’s Likes and Shares. When I look back I can see what interested me at a certain time, what my mood was, how I was interacting with people… I like my mishmash (cool word, and it fits!). It’s like one day I can notice the color of leaves, the next I’ll notice the type of tree, the next I’ll notice what critters and animals are in the tree, the next I might see injuries to the tree – see its age… same tree, but different perspectives each time, which is how I relate to what ends up in my timeline. It all depends on the day, my mood, and what happens to attract me.

      Great stuff — you really got me thinking!

  19. This is such an interesting post, it’s odd how one little button can completely change the way in which people communicate. No one really ‘talks’ anymore on Facebook unless it’s to negatively comment on something, then they really start gabbing! It’s a poisonous habit, but then I guess most people really don’t care enough to spare a minute to say something unless they find it offensive. Hopefully Facebook doesn’t develop a “Love” button, then they’ll have to make to comment box obsolete!

    • ha ha.. a Love button. Oh my goodness, can you imagine? Just like the news reporting on more negative than good, it seems, so happens with comments on posts on Facebook! I do find a lot of inspirational and happy comments in my feeds, so feel it’s still worthwhile. 🙂

  20. I found that recently too, that by liking slightly different things you change what comes up in the newsfeed the next few days. I might have to try dropping the like in favour of comments and see enjoy the results!

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