I’ve decided to throw my two cents into the like button debate, because I feel like I have a few things to add.
Let’s be honest with ourselves. As bloggers, I’m quite certain that all of us started blogs for the same reason: we wanted to be heard. We wanted people to read our writing and look at our photos. We wanted people to follow our blog and comment on our posts. Most of all, we wanted people to care about our lives.
Everyone starts a blog believing, or at least hoping that they have something special to contribute the vast landscape of the internet. It’s one thing for our friends and family to enjoy our work, but we wanted more than that. We started this searching for the approval of strangers.
This is where the like button comes in. There have been quite a few complaints in the blogosphere about users who like your posts just so that you will visit their site and increase their page views. It’s happened to me many times. When someone from a golf news site likes my post about my recent break up, I’m pretty sure it’s not because he enjoyed the juicy details or my clever prose. And okay, yeah, it did annoy me that he liked it even though he clearly hadn’t read it. Also, I was a little miffed that he “liked” the fact that I just went through a break up.
But here’s the thing: golf guy is just like me, just like every blogger out there. He wants his stuff to be read. As much as it annoys me, clearly his methods work. His site has more views, more comments and more followers than mine by a long shot.
Maybe we’re not all serial likers, but we are all guilty of this sort of offense to some degree. I’m sure you’ve commented on a person’s blog even though you didn’t find it all that interesting, in the hope that maybe they’ll check out your own blog. We all put twenty or so tags on our posts so that they can be found, we join the blogger groups, we put up blogrolls in the hope that one day we’ll appear on someone else’s. As far as I’m concerned, we’re all as guilty as those likers.
I’m not done yet though. Because I don’t actually think that the blog world is just made up of narcissists with no conscience. As anyone who has blogged for any length of time knows, the blogosphere is also full of amazing, thoughtful, caring people. And a lot of them really do have interesting and important things to say.
More than that, the amazing thing about blogging is that people will say things they may not admit to in real life. People put everything out there; they post about their triumphs, their struggles, and their heartbreaks. And the magical thing is that people do read and comment and at some point it stops being about themselves and starts being because these people are now their friends and they just deeply care about them. We make friends across continents and ages and cultures. And do you know why?
Because the thing that possibly makes us selfish-our desire to be heard-is also the thing that brings us together. This is a very special kind of community, and I think it needs to be treasured and nurtured, not criticized.
So like away, like button enthusiasts. You are just another part of the beautiful, crazy, complex world of blogging that I am beginning to love.