Please Don't 'Like' This Post (Either)

Editor's Note: This is part 2 of a 3-part series covering Len Kendall’s abstinence from the “Like” button throughout April.

I’m two weeks into not “liking” anything on or off of Facebook (don’t worry — I’m past the point of shivering and vomiting all night). I’ve kept an eye on my behavior as well that of others, and I wanted to share my observations at the “midpoint” of this experiment.

First and foremost, although I positioned this as a short-term experiment ending in April, I currently feel as if this behavior change may continue beyond that. I’m a bit surprised at how quickly I was able to break away from a behavior that I was performing on a daily basis, countless times a day.

I’ve come very close to clicking that button hundreds of times. But I’ve consistently stopped myself at the last second. The vast majority of near slip-ups have happened on Facebook, not on third-party websites. The latter have been very easy to give up because, unlike my Facebook friends, I know that the authors of various blog posts don’t see — or don’t care — that I’m liking their work.

There are three specific observations that I really want to highlight from just the last three days:

Liking before thinking: The first post in this series, "Please Don’t Like This Post," received nearly 300 likes. I know that a small portion of those likes were ironic. In other words, I told people on the Internet not to hit the big red button, and they of course hit the big red button.

But I suspect the majority of the folks who liked my post did so out of sheer muscle memory. They read something that resonated with them, and before even thinking through the fact that the post was criticizing an action, they took that very action. To me this crystallizes the lack of investment a like requires. It literally happen faster than the time it takes to really let a piece of writing sink in.

Polite teasing: Several people within my Facebook network have clearly taken notice of my experiment, and have poked (pun intended) fun at me. I only mentioned my experiment twice, and both posts yielded quite a bit of discussion. Since then at least 15 people have made comments related to the experiment. The teasing was mostly in the vein of, "Make sure you don't like my comment" to "great post Len, I made sure to like it, just for you."

The theme of their jabs isn't really the point. What I found interesting was that so many people have clearly noticed what I'm doing. Perhaps I’ve touched a nerve? Maybe I’m pointing something out that makes people rethink their own behavior? I don't think many people are on board with I'm doing, but it certainly is getting my friends' attention.

Like Craving: Despite the fact that I’ve not been giving out likes, i’ve still been curious about who’s giving them to me. That rascally red notification flag pops-up and my attention immediately still goes towards seeing who has liked my posts and which one in particular captured their attention. Just as easy as it has been for me to stop liking other people’s posts, it’s been very difficult to ignore who is doling them out to me.

Stay tuned for the epic conclusion of this experiment in a few more weeks. And again, I encourage you to either join me in this experiment, leave a comment below, or... do absolutely nothing.

Just don't click that button.

Lede image courtesy of Shutterstock