You may have heard lately about the trend to stop liking things on Facebook, with the end goal being changing the algorithm on Facebook in order to see if you can optimize your feed. Sounds good in theory but if it works as hoped remains to be seen. So why do I advocate not liking things? Good question, and one I’ve been asked a few times this week as I announced my personal challenge and offered it up to a few others. Here is why I stopped liking things on Facebook.
Facebook is not what it used to be. Frequently, your feed is now peppered with personal pages turned into business/sales pages and a lot commentary by your friends on pages that you aren’t following, and on some days, you can end up feeling overwhelmed by information you didn’t need to know…or feel surprised by things people said that you weren’t meant to see. Those things alone make me want to fine-tune my feed but every time I Like something, I’m making it more probable it will again haunt my feed at a later date. Whose feed is this anyway?
But I digress. My real reason for not Liking things right now is to get back to my grass roots of community, where we actually, hold on here, interact. We take the time to go beyond a quick click. We care, we show our interest, we talk to people.
Sounds so simple, right? But the fact is we’re lazy. Clicking Like tells someone we read what they said and we concur. The person gets the ego boost of sharing something cool and/or that they got the attention they hoped for by sharing the content. Sure, not all of us are sharing things for the sake of attention, but let’s be real — if we didn’t want any, if we didn’t want the interaction, we wouldn’t have shared it. The one click lets us give the virtual high-five and we can go on about our day without any real effort. But is it enough?
I am a community geek. I like community for more than just the number of friends on my page and the number of likes on a photo I share. I like it for the actual discussion and I’m more disappointed by the lack of response to a question or comment than I am if I don’t get any/many likes on a photo. I like to talk with people, I like to share ideas and a fun, healthy debate is always interesting..well, not always, but usually. I like Facebook for the informational value in large part, in addition to just seeing what’s going on in my friends’ lives, as I don’t need to get on the phone or text to ask questions and I get a bigger window into what’s going on by visiting Facebook in many cases. More ground, less time.
If you look at my feed, you’d probably laugh. Animal, animal, animal, food, animal, cupcake, animal, friend, animal, animal, social media..and so forth. It’s a real mix of pages and people but the variety keeps it lively. I get my cute fix on, repeatedly, and can help support pet rescue agencies. I collect recipes and gain social media tips, do’s and don’ts. So worth it, with the bonus of seeing how my friend’s daughter did on her first day of kindergarten or how my friend’s husband is recuperating after a major surgery. I learn about a new business opening, a social media opportunity and can celebrate with a colleague who scored with a new gig. All in one place! But to keep those things in the forefront, I have to interact, so Likes are important but if you talk, if you comment with support, if you share their content, how much cooler is that?
Likes are good, don’t get me wrong — I really want to be clear — but why not take it a step further and engage? We all want it, that’s why we’re on there, so how much more do we all benefit if we take the extra few seconds to share a quick word? Communities grow, we learn how people really feel, and we know where to go from there. I’m glad when people Like a recipe or blog post that I share on my Facebook page, but if someone says “That’s a great cupcake, but do you have anything in chocolate?” I know where I am lacking and where I should try next. That person gets a chocolate cupcake recipe, I have a more loyal follower and I may make a friend in the process.
I look at it this way — if I’m at a party, surrounded by people with at least one thing in common (knowing the host), chances are we have more in common but how do I find that out? A mere smile and nod when they talk isn’t giving anything away. Shake hands, dive in, ask questions or say “I know!” and go on from there. That party suddenly becomes a lot more fun and you leave with friends and contacts. Score.
Give it a shot, and report back, I want to see what you think!