22.05.2017 23:03


I like, you like, we like. And just for us.

Autor: Klára Procházková | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

When Facebook added a "like" button to their website in 2009, Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg said: “it's a very easy and simple way how to tell our friends that we like their post.” But when we think about it, it is a rather generalizing assertion. Why are we clicking on “Like” button and what do we want to say with that? Aren't there more reasons than just a single one? Is it because we feel amused or we want to improve our reputation or to express our opinion? A lot of people have been asking those questions for years. Scientists say it's too early to examine what Facebook and social networks are doing with us. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t think about the reason why we use them at all.

 

If we try to search on Google “Why we are clicking like on facebook”, we realise that we are not the first one who wants to research this theme. We could find one survey that directly addresses this topic. It’s a study by CHIH-YU CHIN, HSI-PENG LU and CHAO-MING WU from the University of Thailand. This study says that the reasons why we click on the “like” button can be divided into 5 main motives.

The first type of motive is called motive of hedonism. Sometimes we do things just because they entertain us. Well, maybe that’s why the 9GAG website has so many fans. And Facebook has been used by a lot of people because it's just a way for them how to relax. This has already been detected by PR magazine Cilichilli, which is produced by a mobile operator called Vodafone. It has become famous on Facebook for the last few months by publishing funny glossaries from life. This idea is also confirmed by twenty-two-year-old Ondřej, who is famous for sharing funny pictures on Facebook. "I have a lot of fun stuff in my feed, especially from the culture of memes. But I also follow news channels and a lot of specific informative channels, in my case mainly about aeronautics and history." His response, among other things, lead us to the idea that Facebook is the ideal place to share your interests and opinions.

Indeed, this is confirmed by the second type of motivation, which is also important for a lot of people. Taiwanese scientists call it a motive of utilitarianism. "We can simply call it a motive of usefulness. We often click on the “like” button because we want to give the author of the status the feeling that the information in the status is useful for us," the authors of the study said. This motive, among other things, we could see on profiles of people who are using Facebook as ideal platform for sharing and discussing their political view. When I discuss this topic with a student called Vaclav, he tells me: "Sometimes, I click on the “Like” button on statuses with some politically focused contributions and news. However, not because I would like to engage in a discussion, but because the information that I liked this post will be shown in the newsfeeds of my friends. I’m doing this, because this is for a way how to show my opinions." But motive of usefulness is not contained just in political contributions. As a typical expression of this motive could be also super successful channels by Buzzfeed, which are publishing short videos with recipes for various meals.

The third type of motive for clicking the “like” button is the motive of promoting friendship. The above-mentioned research claims that Facebook, thanks to ability, that we can watch our friends' profiles, allows us to keep in touch with their life and activities, even though we don’t see them too often.

Liking some of their life events, photos or activities is just a way for us, how to let them know that we haven’t forgotten them. The author of this text has a very strong experience with this motive. When I was around 15 years old, I met one lady who I have seen  just for two days, but we became quite good friends. About a year later, I found her on Facebook and for a several years we have been just liking  some statuses and photos, but I have never talked to her. Later, I realized that she is studying in Brno, I contacted her because I have been also accepted to University in Brno, but I haven’t had roommates for my apartment. After three years, we are still roommates and good friends. We talked about this experience few months ago and we realized that for trusing eaxh other it was important that we were able to see our status updates on Facebook, because thanks to this reason we have just some imagine that this girl is great.

It can also happen often that we have been liking some statuses just because their author is influential or have a lot of followers. "Like" is a way for us how to tell the author of the status that we agree with him and at the same time how to let our friends knowthat we are communicating with someone  influential.


The last reason why we click the button “Like” is that we were affected by the popularity of the post. The fact that something has many “Likes” is a sufficient arbiter for us that the information contained in it is qualitative. This is, by the way, a very common phenomenon in media reports. The fact that some news in newspapers have a lot of positive feedback, sometimes affects us that way, that we also want to agree with it.

If we summarize this all, we can see that all five reasons tell us one more thing: the fact that the button “Like” is just another way how to get an attention from other people or how to make self-PR. The attraction of “Likes” lies primarily in the fact that all our clicks will be shown in newsfeeds of our friends. So, the “Likes” are a way how to create a certain aura of ourselves as we want present ourselves to other people. The “like” button is also implemented in other social networks, like Instagram, which is also popular. On Instagram, however, the number of “likes” in the photo is in a way anonymized and inform us just about a  value of the photo. However, Facebook “like” button give us the chance o express our opinion while we are maintaining relationships with our friends. Perhaps for this reason, loses popularity among younger users, because their opinions are still shaping up.

 

Klíčová slova: online social media, facebook,

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