I like you and you like me - On Facebook's most important tool

I remember my 16-year-old son posting his new profile photo and saying: “My goal is to get at least 20 likes”. Well, I told him that I liked his photo but it apparently didn't count...
 
I’ve been using Facebook for some time now but I must admit I still don’t know how it works. I can upload an image, post a comment or change my profile photo, but I’m still somewhat puzzled by Facebook's inherent complexity. What I’m most fascinated about at the moment is the like button. I can’t stop constantly analyzing what's behind this tiny icon. Not because I want to invent a super theory on how to get more likes on Facebook; what intrigues me is the moment of decision to like something or ignore it, and all the emotions you can express with just one click.  

I always wonder whether other people feel the same way as I do (my husband reassures me that they don't). For example, I’d like to look inside the human brain to scrutinize the complex and complicated process of deciding whether they'll hit the like button or not. Although it’s just a matter of seconds, or even less, an amazing lot of brain processes must be going on inside the person's head. Are they only interested in the post itself or do they have the person who posted it in mind? In other words, is it only about content or is it personal? And what about their own personality? Do they need some time to decide if they want to share this bit with others or do they just act spontaneously? Or are they too shy to expose their emotions at all?

The like button apparently has many functions and some of them are more superficial than others, but that's ok: by liking something you can express that you’ve just smiled, laughed, or cried; you can express your surprise, shock or amazement. But I’ve also used it for other reasons; by liking someone's post I just quickly want to say: “Hello, I’m here. We haven’t been in touch for ages but I know you are there.” Or I simply want to show that I like the person or appreciate what he or she does in general. I can also express that I agree with what the person claims and by agreeing I actually expose my own opinion. Finally, I've always kind of felt that by clicking the like option you make an imaginary full stop: I've read your post. Thanks. Full stop.  

The number of likes one receives certainly matters because Facebook is not just about interaction, relationships and communication; it's also about competition. But the number of likes one gives away matters as well because someone who likes everything may be ‘valued’ less by others than someone who uses the tool carefully. On the other hand, I feel that liking on Facebook is like smiling at somebody or patting them on the back. And does it cost you anything to smile at someone? Can you waste smiles and supportive pats on the back? Well, the fact is that some people are always smiley and some don’t smile at all. We are human and everyone is different. So let’s go to Facebook and enjoy the diversity.  

PS: I hope you will like my post :-)