Was it really only in June 2010 that Facebook replaced “Become a Fan” with the now ubiquitous Like button?
I've been watching the online behavior this one deceptively simple change has spawned, and I've seen how other sites and apps, such as Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram, have replicated it. I've been mulling over the following question for a while: “What does it mean to have Like Integrity?”
Here's here what I mean by that question. A person who has 'Like' integrity will do the following.
1. Regardless of how many Likes a post already has, you click Like, too.
Example: A photo on “DogsofInstagram” has 8,902 Likes in 9 minutes, and you still Like it because, aww shucks, LOOK AT THAT HUSKY PUPPY! He’s a boy, he’s a boy, he’s a BOY! You want to share the fact that you like the post, too.
2.When a total stranger Likes your photo, you take a minute to go to their feed, so you can reciprocate with a Like of your own.
I call this Like Karma. This can reveal a fundamental personality quality. Are you a generous spirit or a Like Shnorrer? (Look it up in a Yiddish dictionary.) And don’t come back with “Who has time to do this?” You’re active on the network, so be a good citizen. If you don't have time to reciprocate, then bail out and watch another episode of that reality show, Busy Bob.
3. You Like a great post or photo even if it was put up by someone you have a problem with.
This is another character test. Are you the bigger person or a Petty Betty? If you really are on the outs with this person, then unfriend and unfollow him. Stop lurking already! You’re just torturing yourself.
4. You don’t automatically Like posts by clients (or prospects).
In other words, you refuse to Like something just to butter up someone's ego. This is a basic rule of Like Integrity. Liking every post devalues your Like cred. We all have those friends and followers who are Like Sure Things; they always Like every post and photo we send up. Love them for that. But, the sad truth is that we would trade every Like by that fawning friend for just one Like from Steve Jobs. Hey, especially if such had happened in 2012 (too soon?).
5. You still Like a post by someone who has not hit Like on any of your posts in, like, FOREVER.
Doing that can be challenging. Maybe the person is even a close relative who is active on the site but never throws you a darn bone---no comments nor Likes. Even if you are a very big-hearted person, your natural inclination is to Like their stuff less over time.
(And if you’re that Like Shnorrer in #2, then beware that Like Karma, like the instant karma John Lennon sang about, is gonna get ya.)
6. You self-regulate your postings based on how many Likes certain posts/photos generate.
This is the most advanced form of Like Integrity to me. You actually adjust your own posting behavior as a result of past Like Performance. Likes are a valuable crowdsourced proxy about the quality of your post. For example: An obscure, low-quality Instagram you post gets no Likes. Learn from that. Next time you feel like “I’m in this weird mood right now and so will indulge myself---and waste my followers' time---with this uninteresting photo,” RESIST. Think of your followers.
Are you on this network to express yourself or are you on it to share something interesting with the world? Yes, yes, it’s your page, and you can do what you like. But remember the Like Golden Rule and do your little part to make the online world a better place.
On a closing note, I hope the next evolution of Like is a more nuanced set of options. Imagine having the following choices on Facebook instead: “Hate / Dislike / Meh / Like / Love.”
Wouldn’t that be great? I give this idea free to the world.
Do you have other tests of Like Integrity? Please share in the comments.