The Science of the Facebook Like

The facebook like is such a tiny little thing. But so are the cellular processes in our bodies. In fact, as a whole, they mean a lot. Unlike most humans, who strive to understand and achieve larger scale goals, I am more concerned about analysing the little things.

So I have been decoding the facebook like trends for years now and here are the categories I thought were appropriate to put facebook users in. Please do not read too much into it. It is meant to be funny, not critical, insulting nor passive aggressive.

1. The serial liker: serial likers like everything. Within this category you will find people who like their own posts, people who like every single thing you post and will keep liking things even when they don’t get the inside joke, language content or obvious negativity of what is being communicated. People in this category use the facebook like as a “seen”. However, this is a nice thing because it’s almost like getting unconditional facebook love.

2. The moderate loyal liker: my personal favourite. This type will like your stuff periodically, depending on the quality of the things you post. I like them because some things don’t really call for a like. Liking too much puts you in category number one. Also, this liker suggests that they are up to date, that you haven’t posted anything that has hurt their feelings and that they are happy that you are doing well or having fun.

3. The topic-dependent liker: this liker will only like things that you post that cover the topic that they are passionate or obsessed about. Even if they don’t like you, they will like what you posted because it touches their background. It’s like they have this switch that only goes on when you use the right code. This may be related to nationality, sexuality, music, hobbies, religion, politics, conspiracy, etc.

4. The person-dependent liker: you might share the exact same meme as five others on their facebook friends list. However, they will only like the ones posted by their favourite people because they have a loyalty to them. They fall into a cross-category at times, aka the person-dependant serial liker.

5. The tigers in the grass: the people who never like anything on facebook. Often, these people don’t post on facebook either. They might as well not be on it. Apparently you can deactivate and still keep messenger on – not being able to access messenger is often their lame excuse. These people make me skeptical. The tigers I don’t mind are those who occasionally send me a message to say they have been keeping up with my facebook life and they love all of it.

6. The active non-liker: this type of liker likes strategically. They like things that devalue you or discourage more show-off type posts, almost as if to say: “I like your disgrace, not your face”. Also, they actively refrain from liking things that are very obviously likeable and that only people who hate you would not like (Jeez, how long does hitting the like button take?). This is my second favourite, as they give me the most material to analyse. Often, these people ask you about things as if it weren’t all over facebook and then you have to have a basic conversation (yawn!).

7. The sympathy-buying liker: often, you’ll be faced with a sudden flood of likes from this person who you haven’t really spoken to for years. Usually this is someone who is about to ask you for a mega favour, for which they’re preparing the soil. You also get this type of like from someone who has a secret crush on you – there is really no other way to say it. Finally, this liker type also strikes when they have done something wrong but sorry seems to be the hardest word.

8. The realist liker: I would put myself into this category. When I like something it means I really like something. It may be posted by someone I am not so fond of, it may even make me envious for a brief moment, it may be dark or wrong, but if it’s good, it makes sense or is entertaining, I just have to like it. I never like things out of sympathy or compassion though. But also, depending on the type of liker you are, behaviour is bound to change for realist likers. Their reality becomes “you don’t deserve my like”.

9. Last but not least… The contradictive butt-kissing liker: this liker obviously has all the negative feelings towards the other person but likes everything anyway, because it’s an obligation within their social circle. Often, this involves people with status and/or money who have a rep to keep.

Although some think that I put way too much thought into this, I have spoken to people who feel affected by the exclusion they face based on facebook liking. Things like selective birthday wish liking are just not very nice. It feels as though you are differentiating between the people posting on your wall. Also it’s bad when you genuinely like someone’s posts, watch them like everything else but not what you post. I mean, if people have something to say it should just be said.

To be fair, I know that I can count my friends with a hand or two and that half my likers don’t have time to talk to me, but that’s better than no interaction, I suppose. It only really begins to be degrading when there is a lack of much needed communication. I guess some people are just a bit indifferent to you as well, but that is when I think de-friending is totally acceptable. I mean, who wants to be posting personal photos and thoughts wondering how many haters will hate? And who wants to hate some annoying person anyway?

Spread more love, please.

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