wings and things

The ‘like’ button

on November 28, 2013

When someone posts something that is heartbreaking, pressing the ‘like’ button seems an odd thing to do but I think most of us realize that the ‘like’ button is to show we care, not that we like what they are going through. Recently I have read a few posts and comments where the issue of the ‘like’ button is discussed. For example, “I didn’t press the ‘like’ button because I like what is happening in your life, but I just wanted you to know I care.” Now even though this is probably understood by most bloggers, I have also heard of people objecting to their grief-stricken posts being ‘liked’. So I think this is something WordPress and other blogging platforms could address by adding another button that indicates that the reader feels something more than ‘like’ for a post that is sad, or anxious, or bewildered, or despairing.

But what button to add? It would have to be a single word of course and I have wracked my brains and seen others’ suggestions. ‘Hugs’ seems to be a popular idea but some people wouldn’t like that because it seems a bit intimate. ‘Love’ is another possibility but then it might seem like the reader loves the writer’s anguish. ‘Understand’ might offend the writer of a sad post because it might imply that you know what they are going through when of course you don’t. ‘Hope’ is too insipid perhaps? ‘Encourage’ might sound like you are not taking their predicament seriously enough. ‘Bravo’ might seem abrasive; ‘Prayers’ won’t work for non-religious people; ‘Wishes’ is too ambiguous; ‘Care’ isn’t a strong enough word; ‘Support’ is meaningless when you can’t actually offer any beyond words; and ‘Sorry’ is often inadequate and can sound quite trite.

Would the word ‘Heart’ work?

39 responses to “The ‘like’ button

  1. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    It’s a hard decision, Julie. I don’t think there is any easy answer.

    I press the ‘like’ button mainly to let bloggers know I have read their post, more than anything else.

    Maybe the alternative button should have more than one word on it? Maybe there should be several buttons, but nothing I think of as an alternative, seems quite right. We all have differing ways to express ourselves, so I doubt if there’ll ever be a solution.

  2. A heart symbol would work very nicely.

  3. niasunset says:

    Oh dear Julie, you did exactly a wonderful post, it was same for me too, I mean I thought this “like” button many times… But your idea is so good, and I loved it, the word “heart” will say everything more than like…. Thank you my dear Julie, I hope Word Press take this idea for us… Love, nia

  4. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    The hugs button I like the sound of. You often get people saying ‘hugs’. They should introduce it.

    Re ‘liking’ a heartbreaking post, I think you are saying you read it, you were there, and you feel for it. Enjoyed this post Julie – good ideas 🙂

  5. Terry says:

    I like heart, but I like it just when I know you are near me when I need you the most

  6. I think the word heart is perfect–it expressions compassion and caring without offending anyone anywhere

  7. mimijk says:

    I’m in agreement with those who recommend a heart symbol – I think it would say so much more…and as you know, when there is pain or sorrow or fear, I can’t press the like button..

  8. Denise says:

    Heart with a little red heart next to it – brilliant! ❤

  9. tootlepedal says:

    You need a button that says, “I have read your interesting post and given it the attention and sympathy that it deserves.” Possibly another is required which says, “Skipped through this because it was a bit dull but cheers anyway.” And perhaps even a third that says, “Didn’t read this guff but please, please come and visit my very much more interesting blog.”

    Difficult to put these all into single words but “Like” seems to fit them all at the moment.

  10. I too like the ‘heart’ symbol. I too can’t press the ‘like’ in certain situations.

  11. letstalkaboutfamily says:

    Yes, I agree that we need a button for “empathy” to show we have been moved by a post and we want to show support for the blogger. I tend to hit the like to show I have been there and I care and support the blogger in those situations. Other times if they don’t “know” me already, I don’t hit “like” because I am afraid it might offend. It is sometimes hard to decide what to do.

  12. I was thinking of emoticons….. 🙂 😦 or a symbol for a heart (I can’t find out how to make it) but I thought it was ❤ or () but it wouldn't work when I tried lol Diane

  13. […] friend Julie who hails from Australia and writes at jmdoyer: wings and things, wrote a blog yesterday about the LIKE button and other iconic […]

  14. lensgirl53 says:

    In this very politically correct (and stupidly, I might add) world…we have “offended” our way out of empathy. I have often followed up with a comment after hitting the “like” button just to show I really do care if the post calls for it, as in a tragedy of loss. Because there are no real words that suffice when the heart is in despair. Perhaps we should resort to icons that show expressions rather than words because how can one misinterpret the sad face when the post is one about grief. IMHO. The heart idea is a wonderful symbol that says”I care”…I think you are on to something!! xo

  15. empathy seems like a supportive word we could use. my first thought was hope. when we press that button we hope the person knows we care. we want them to know that we are hoping for them even when they cannot hope for themselves. then again that would take too much hoping that the blogger knew what you meant by hope. i agree it can be so difficult to click that like button when you know the person on the other end is suffering. when i click like i think i want them to know i like they are sharing their burden and that i support them.

    i will admit i do not always press the like button as it just feels so wrong. until there is another button we must use/not use what we have. wow that was clear:)

  16. ksbeth says:

    i think the heart button is a great option or a gentle hug button maybe ?

  17. That is a tough one, acknowledge is too cold, I hear you, too flippant, sympathize maybe. I don’t know this is a tricky one.

  18. Until there is another choice, did you know that you can disable your like button on any post you choose?

  19. janeslog says:

    I look on it as agreeing with the sentiments expressed but being unable to add anything further as you have covered everything.

  20. I like the idea of another button, and a symbol might work very well. Great idea!

  21. I think a heart button would be appropriate.

  22. elizabeth says:

    I think heart is a good word. I also thought an empathy button might work. Good post Julie. We have all felt that discomfort with clicking the like button on a distressing post.

  23. bulldog says:

    Maybe “sympathy” … but I do like the heart button… I often click the like button just to let others know I’ve read the post…

  24. Judith Post says:

    Heart seems like a good button, and I know I’m going to sound like the grump that I am, but when people TRY to offer encouragement, does it ALWAYS have to be politically correct??? Can’t someone ever look at the intentions and appreciate them? Okay, I’ll shut up now.

  25. Like the heart button. It is uncomfortable to click like when it’s a tragic post but when I’m at a loss for what to see I want to show support, that I was there… ❤

  26. viveka says:

    I really like the idea about a “heart symbol” – I have very mixed feelings about this “like” button. The other day I had 13 likes and nobody had visit my post ???? Do we just click “like” without really reading the post – why do we do it, because we think we have too.Personal I prefer a little comment – the personal touch.

  27. bluebee says:

    An empathy button, perhaps…

  28. I use the LIKE button to indicate that I came by and read the post. I heard that Facebook is considering adding a SYMPATHY button, but then I also read where you deactivated your Facebook account, so……………….

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