Home WordPress Copies Facebook’s “Like”

WordPress Copies Facebook’s “Like”

It’s been just over three months since Facebook introduced its Like button as an Internet-wide feature that could be used by third-party sites to integrate sharing and connection with the social network. In that time, it seems that we have become well accustomed to “liking” things as a way of sharing content everywhere we go. Now blogging platform WordPress has added a “like” of its own to enable sharing and communication between its users.

The company says it is “hoping this will be an awesome new way to discover other interesting bloggers and start new conversations with people who – literally! – like you.”

According to the blog post introducing the new feature, liking a post does two things.

First, the blog post’s author sees your “like” and can click through to your Gravatar profile. Second, clicking “like” saves the post in your homepage dashboard (in the “Posts I Like” section), so you can share it with others or just keep it around for future reference.

The feature is currently only available for blogs hosted on WordPress.com (though this accounts for more than 10 million WordPress blogs) and to signed-in bloggers – that is, people with WordPress accounts. That non-bloggers (the majority of visitors to blogs) could not choose to like a post was a main complaint in the comments.

On blogs that enable the new “like” feature, small images of each blogger that has liked a post is shown at the bottom of each post. Each image links to the Gravatar profile of the blogger.

The look and feel is very similar to the Facebook Like – too similar, really. It’s an approach we have to question. Immediately, we went to try out the “like” feature, found that we couldn’t and saw no indication as to why. Only through reading through the comments did we realize that we needed to be logged in as a WordPress user to take part. And what about WordPress bloggers that also integrate the Facebook “Like” at the bottom of their post page? Will the two show up side-by-side?

In the comments on the post, WordpPress blogger Andy Peatling defends the feature, noting that “It does still say that “X number of bloggers liked this post” so it should be fairly clear what the images mean. The only thing that is different is the button is gone.”

The Web is full of examples of one service copycatting another, often to users’ delight. What do you think about WordPress’ attempt at co-opting the Facebook “Like”? Will it be a hit or just a confusing factor for readers? Or will it create more of a WordPress community and take WordPress in a new, more social direction?

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