Do you just ‘like’ me or do you REALLY like me?

Regular visitors to my blog may have noticed that I’ve suddenly become much more popular. My recent posts are followed by charming little thumbnail shots of people who say they ‘like’ them.

Some of those people are lying. You know who you are. Unfortunately I don’t.

Some of you don’t really like me; you’re just saying that. Some of you are merely being polite (nothing wrong there), but others are hoping I’ll be curious about who you are, visit your blog and push your ‘Like’ button. When I do, your blog registers one more ‘hit’ and it looks as if we’re all booming bloggers. Hit for tat ‘liking’.

These Weekly Photo Challenges encourage phony liking. The idea is that bloggers will get inspired by the given theme, post a photo or some well chosen words, then rush around clicking on the list of others who’ve done likewise.

I’ve been doing just that myself. After I upload my thoughtfully selected photos, I trawl through other sites to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with. Of course there’s a lot of dross, but there are also gems. It’s fun, and by doing this I’ve found a few new bloggers every week with whom I share a connection. It’s gratifying if they also recognize this and respond to my comments.

At first I was a scrupulously honest ‘liker’. I hit the ‘like’ button only if I genuinely admired a post, or at least thought the blogger deserved some encouragement. Some people write really well and have great stories to tell. Others post professional-standard photos and teach me new tricks.

Then I reasoned, ‘Every blogger puts time, thought and effort into their posts. Talented or not, everybody likes to be liked.’ So I tried ‘liking’ lots more posts, and was rewarded with lots of people liking me in return.

It felt good, though in a superficial kind of way.

There’s only one ‘like’ button on WordPress. There’s not a ‘this really changed my life’ button or a ‘thought this was ok’ button. So the only way to tell anyone I’ve at least spent a few seconds on their site is to hit ‘Like this’.

If I find something really interesting or amusing, I take the time to comment as well, if possible saying something original, witty, encouraging or at least related to the post. I often see posts on blogs I visit with dozens of ‘Great pix!’, ‘Cool!!!’ or ‘Nice post!’ messages among the comments. I suspect many of these are generated by the ‘look at my great shots/blog/writing’ rent-a-crowd.

However, one of the joys of blogging is meeting people who really do seem to share my interests (travel, hiking, cycling, photography, art…) and my sense of humour. I’d miss you if we didn’t exchange at least a brief message every few days or weeks.

There are some people (you mostly know who you are) whose blogs I regularly follow, either formally or just through regular visits.

There are others who follow me so faithfully that I feel I ought to follow them back. It’s naturally a bit awkward if I don’t find their posts particularly inspiring. I have a real life and real work and I can’t read everything everyone writes.

And finally, to reassure those whose blogs I do follow that I’m not just doing it out of politeness – no, life is too short. I only follow you if you’re regularly posting stuff that interests me. Really. Believe me. I REALLY like you.

What’s your policy on ‘liking’, commenting, reblogging and following? Be honest, now!

Oh, and if you like this post, please feel free to click the ‘Like’ button. It will make me feel good and guarantee you another hit on your blog. If you don’t like it, maybe you should click anyway – a tactful lie will spare my feelings.


Filed under Writing

70 responses to “YOU ONLY LIKE ME ‘CAUSE I HIT YOU

  1. I tend to like something if the overall idea, or even just one line (mainly poetry), really strikes me. And of course I “like” things that I love overall. In your post, for example, I enjoyed your discussion of not knowing who actually likes your stuff because I have wondered about that before

  2. Created ~

    I REALLY like you 🙂 I’ll think about this challenge.

  3. Ahh I really like you. Check yes or no if you really like me. ;;)

  4. kz

    hmmmnn looks like it works! i always get curious about people who visit my blog and make it a point to check out theirs in return. ^^ to answer the question: my policy for liking is 1)good read 2)pretty photos 3)imagination 4)looks like he/she tried real hard ^^ i usually make short comments like “fantastic!” or whatever coz if i post longer comments, there’d be less time for me to check out other cool posts and boy, are there plenty! ^^ but if i really don’t like a post, no matter how hard i wanna “repay” that person, i really won’t… but then again, i’ve only been bloggin’ for a month. :p i might get too busy to pay people visits then. i don;t think we should be paying too much attention to likes or follows.. just have fun blogging ^^ oh btw, very interesting post you made here 😉

  5. I like how people handle the themes and I like to see pictures from other parts of the world. As I am no so good in words I mostly use only the like button ;-). If I really really like the pictures very much I leave a comment 🙂
    BTW to like pictures they don’t have to be perfect.
    Cheers Angela 🙂

    • Yes, I’m often glad there is a simple LIKE button when I can’t think of an original comment but want to let people know I appreciate their efforts.

      • ^ This describes my “like” philosophy quite accurately. In a set of, say, 10 photos that I see, I’ll probably “like” eight of them (sometimes it’s genuine appreciation for the quality of the image, sometimes it’s just acknowledging the effort) and comment on one or two.

  6. I also have often wondered about this “liking” I do the same and will check around others that have entered the same challenge. I only follow a very small number by email I put the ones I like to follow as an RSS (I have no idea what that stands for) this way it doesn’t clutter up my in box. That is another rather annoying WordPress procedure I do just delete the likes from the inbox, after all I can see them in the post, and just look at comments and go to their blogs to check them out….interesting post Richard

    • I’ll have to check out RSS – I only vaguely know what it is, but it could be useful.

      • It’s that little orange coloured box in the top address bar, it gives you the option of following the posts via a reader so it gives you the updates as they occur but not in the email inbox, then you can check them when it suits you. Click on it and a window will open and then you follow the instructions. Hope that makes sense…

  7. It is possible to “like” a post without actually looking at it, by looking at the “reader” place. I know this because I was getting lots of “likes” without registering hits. I did a bit of poking about and discovered a regular group of people who do this. Lesley Carter is one of them….she must be busy.
    I think this is cheating and pointless. Like you, I only leave a comment if I have a genuine interest in what I am reading.
    I have now got lots of followers who I suspect never visit my blog at all, because even though the number of followers had increased a lot, the number of hits not so much. As I make no money from my blog it doesn’t really matter much, but of course, it is nice to see the numbers grow rather than shrink.
    I don’t often do the challenges or participate in the various “awards” that appear as I think it takes away from what my blog is about. There seems to be a lot of mutual back patting out there.
    I follow your blog because I love your sense of humour and writing style. I am most interested in your travel posts and not quite so much in the cycling ones as I have no intuition of getting on a bike any time soon.
    The best part about floggings the fun people you meet. It is great to come upon a blog that is inspiring. It is wonderful to see someone else’s take on their hometown or their travels.
    Thank you for a very interesting post.

    • I guessed you could ‘like’ without reading, but didn’t know how it worked.. I’ve also been suspicious when ‘likes’ outnumbered hits.

      • I found your blog today through that of Debra’s which I found some time ago. They both seem great and most interesting to me, although I’m as far from a sportsman as you can imagine. Nevertheless, I’m planning to continue popping on both. I’m a fairly new blogger and blogged 100% for myself for months. I’ve only just started exploring the blogosphere and leaving comments. And I only comment if I’m impressed or really like something. (I’m a Finn, what else could you expect…)

        To me, blogging is not about numbers and followers but I do it for myself to structure my life and record (mostly nice) events in my life. This way I may return to them later and the past blog posts will hopefully give me some joy during the long and dark winter season up here in the North (while we are awaiting that fine day in the not too distant future when we will spend the winters somewhere in the Mediterranean…). All that said, it is a wonderful bonus to find a blog you can relate to and receive a comment from someone whose blog your admire. In fact, I’m head-over-heels thrilled whenever someone leaves a comment. Therefore I certainly hope comments are not made light-heartedly but only in earnest.

        I’m not familiar with WordPress so I’m not sure whether I’m talking about the same thing as you and Debra but I wanted to point out that at least in Blogger (which I use) visits to the flow of posts, the home page of the blog so to speak, do not generate hits to any post but only increase the number of overall visits to the blog. You will have to visit a post through the URL of the post itself, through the link on the archive for example, to get a hit for a post. So on Blogger, you could be a follower never bringing any hits for posts but only visits to the site.

  8. Hope you just don’t like me ’cause I liked you! Seriously though, I only press like if I really do.

  9. I only “like” posts I genuinely like, and only follow blogs I genuinely want to follow. I’d rather have a smaller number of followers who genuinely love what i’m doing than lots of people who think they are in some numbers game and want me to follow back out of some sense of loyalty.

    I can tell from my comments that people who read my blog (some of whom follow and some of whom don’t) find it interesting/useful and that’s what’s really important to me – I have an audience (albeit a small one) who appreciate my efforts.

  10. LOL. Cute post. I like you and your photo’s and stories. It’s a strange society we’ve become, eh? A bunch of virtual likers. I only like a post that I truly like, I don’t hit that button unless I feel moved or touched or WOW that was an awesome post. Going around randomly liking things just for the sake of it – is a huge waste of my time.

  11. I cringed as I hit the “like” button, self-consciously looking over my shoulder to see if someone was analyzing the depth of my “like” for this post — was it the opening “catch”? was it the title? did she read the entire post? did she like all of it, or was there a gem in the middle that resonated with her? a “like” may mean any or all of that (except I, personally, would never hit a “like” without reading the whole post — cripes, you never know what awful closing line might be hidden in the post if you hit “like” too early!!). ~ Kat

  12. I really liked this, it made me smile because you’re echoing what I’ve been thinking of late but I haven’t yet hit 40 likes so have to trust that my likers are genuine – feel free to call me gullible 🙂

  13. Without thinking about it I’d evolved a sort of heirarchy of ‘like’.
    A ‘like’ off the reader without a visit – usually just a post with a picture and no text means ‘nice shot’.
    A ‘like’ and a visit means ‘very nice – must read more’.
    A visit and lots of likes means ‘this blog is really interesting’
    A visit, lots of likes, a follow plus a comment means ‘Brilliant’

    So I suppose I really liked this post!
    Pressed ‘like’ as well!

    • Thanks 28mmf2. Interesting system. I believe there’s a “Rate This” button I could enable, but I don’t think I’m ready to have my posts graded by dozens of school teachers.

      So I’m happy just to have a comment and a like – praise indeed!

  14. PS: I don’t like out of politeness and I try to comment when I have something to say but often many others have already said it so I just hit the like button, wish there was a love button 🙂

  15. I like photos, especially of places I’ve never been and might never have the opportunity to go – they’re a substitute for the cancelled vacation this year. I like things that inspire me – can be a photo, poem, story, opinions on current affairs, humour… Many things capture my imsgination. The thing I like most about reading other people’s blogs is that you never know what you might find and what meaning might lie in it for yourself when you stop to think about it.

  16. I sincerely like this post.
    Way back when I started joining this photo challenge and I received many hits in my like button (not that much but it is over my expectation) I asked myself, “Do this people really like my photos or was it only because I hit their like button so to return the favor they should hit my like button as well?”,
    I am not much good at writing but the first time I received 30 likes I was so inspired and motivated to be at my best.
    Whether they truly and sincerely like my entries or not I am still thankful with those pips who click my like button (including you i think) because its gives INSPIRATION as I said. 🙂
    As for me, I leaved comments to those post that really captures me and which I found interesting.

  17. I have just realized that the iPad changed ‘ blogging is’ to floggings! I must have missed the space bar.

  18. First off, I don’t only like you because you hit me 🙂 And I don’t automatically click follow as soon as someone follows me.
    I mostly ‘like’ for the reasons you do. But there are times when I do it out of politeness and am beginning to feel trapped in the vicious cycle.
    What amuses me most is when I get a half dozen ‘likes’ even before I lift my finger off the publish button!!

  19. Good post Richard. The likes that intrigue me are the ones that are posted within seconds of posting. Some people must have a mechanism for doing it automatically. Actually, I think the whole ‘awards’ thing is even more irritating. I just ignore them.

    • Yes. I often see more likes than hits popping up before the cyber-ink is dry.

      I know I’m sometimes quick off the mark reading your posts, though I set aside at least a respectable 30 seconds to get to the end of what you’ve written.

  20. now I did not hit the like button though I like your post, for example the lines “…one of the joys of blogging is meeting people who really do seem to share my interests (photography, politics…) and my sense of humor. I’d miss them if we did not exchange at least a brief message every few days or weeks…”

  21. This is a great post Tulloch…I only follow blogs that interest me for sure. I too, do not have all the time in the world to read everything! Since I like photography so much, I will sometimes like a post from the reader rather than click down on the article. I actually like the awards thing, maybe because I am new at this and it has been a motivator to keep on truckin’. I only comment when I have something to say!

  22. Wanderingimages

    Well, I have to admit, I like you and follow you because you like bicycles. I keep meaning to come and read all your posts about your bicycle travels, but I haven’t read them all yet. And, I can’t remember whether I came across you via the photo challenge, which I’m sure was the case.

    My other love is photography. So, for the photo challenge, I really try to participate in the challenge in real time, and not use old photos. It’s a personal challenge. Having people stop in and take a look is a nice bonus. Most people “like” as being part of a supportive community, and Isee it as nothing more than that. If someone likes my log and intends to follow because I moved them in some way… well, it’s all very nice, but I certainly don’t do it to get followers.

    • WI, I also follow a few blogs because of the bike/photography connection.

      If someone has tried hard with the photo challenge I’ll usually give them an encouraging ‘like’.

      It’s impressive that you go out and take a new shot for each challenge, though. Maybe I’ll try doing that too, though my photographic skills are limited. I try to post challenge photos that have a story attached to them, which usually requires some recycling.

  23. You know, I’ve come to realize….it doesn’t really matter if they like me, for real, or not. I get that there are too many bloggers and too little time. I don’t take it personal at all. I like stuff, because I like it, or out of politeness. Normally, I comment. I’m just a wordy person and I love the comments I get. 🙂 I’ve met a lot of great people in the blogging world. I don’t regret a single one.

  24. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Green (England) « What's (in) the picture?

  25. Richard, I’ve read this position elsewhere and this is my response: I’m always happy to encourage/support other bloggers. When my fellow bloggers like or comment on my blog, I’m grateful for it and make the effort to reciprocate. It matters less to me why/how quickly/how slowly they respond to my post. It means more to me that a fellow blogger took the time to stop by and like and/or comment on my post and I will always appreciate the gesture. Blogging is about building community and making connections; some stay and some leave… I use the Like button as an expression of the abundance/generosity I see in the world and I see no point in withholding it. I give it freely and joyfully and life goes on. 🙂

  26. Cool post Richard. I came all the way over from my reader to say so. Seriously I’m very mean with my liking and at a childish level feel torn between being chuffed and betrayed by the ‘liking’ numbers-game.

  27. I am reminded of Sally Field’s painful acceptance speech for the Oscar she won some years ago: “You like me, you really like me!” With this blog business, who knows, really. You certainly elicited some interesting comments, Richard. Good on you.

  28. Ok this is really a great post and thought provoking. I will be honest that I only hit like if I read a post and do like it. Maybe it is the Minnesotan in me but I agree that I’d rather have so one not like a post than superficially like one. We are all human too and like being liked especially when we are spending countless hours on free work. Anyway I love reading others blogs and subscribe to a lot. I don’t have time to read every post so pick and choose and only like when I truly like! Thanks for sharing! By the way glad I found your blog! 🙂

    • Thanks, TEM. It’s very encouraging to see the many thoughtful responses to this post.

      I’m still torn between being encouraging to everyone who takes the trouble to blog and trying to increase the value of my ‘likes’ by using them sparingly.

      • Very true. I mostly read what I like and of course all the posts I can from my good blogging friends I’ve made. But it is time consuming. Yet as I always say, much better than reading the news especially when the posts are inspiring! 🙂

  29. I confess I mainly like posts based on photos I see and like. I only get a few minutes a day to browse around and searching for a theme brings up a list of everyone’s photos. There are a few that catch my interest, often blogs I follow to check how they are going, but occasionally new ones that I read…in full….and like for their honesty and entertainment value. Yours made me laugh because I think we are all sitting at our computers addicted on some level to the stats and we are all wondering the same thing. Your post obviously resonated with bloggers everywhere if the comments are anything to go by. Thanks for the smile 🙂

  30. Ah, Richard, ‘twould seem you have hit a bit of a raw nerve in the blogosphere………well done you!

  31. Well now, I’m totally confused.
    As a relative newbie, hits vs likes vs follows is all irrelevant to me.
    OK, there’s info back there in the depths of WordPress but I haven’t figured it out yet. I’m busily trying to make contact with other bloggers – they don’t know I exist! I started Weekly Photo Challenge to get me posting once a week. I found it a fascinating experience (and challenge) and was especially thrilled when I realised that I could check out what other people had posted. Up until this point I had no idea how to contact other bloggers. My ‘blogosphere’ consisted of me and half a dozen kind souls who’d stumbled opon my blog.

    I’ve had a wonderful time visiting as many sites as possible and letting people know if I liked what they’d done. I’m inclined to be on the generous side (the glass is half-full rather than half-empty) but I cannot click the LIKE button if I’m not moved by something in a particular post. I can only control MY use of the button and I don’t use it carelessly. I don’t care why or when others use it – even on my posts – that’s up to them.

    On reading this post, Richard, and seeing my little red rose in the pictures at the top I felt some of my new-found enthusiasm drain out of me. Maybe I’m taking this too personally…..I’m not sure. All I know is I’m feeling a little bit like the new kid at school who’s just had a run-in with one of the street-wise older kids. I’m walking away sniffling ’cause he’s just stolen my new hat and chucked my lunch in the dirt 😦

    • Oh no, that’s not the idea! The street-wise older kid is supposed to say he likes your new hat and offer to share his lunch with you, as long as you share yours with him.

      I live in hope that most people who click a like button on one of my posts (and certainly those who leave me an interesting paragraph to discuss!) have some interest in what I’ve written there.

      It’s just that I’ve discovered some serial, possibly computer-generated, ‘likers’ out there in blogland.

      Keep on posting, but for good or ill, you do become fascinated by seeing what draws the most attention and get excited when you get more visits than usual.

      • Fair enough. Thanks for ensuring I got your reply.
        How on earth can you tell if a LIKE is computer-generated? Don’t answer that if it’s too technical!

        Not that it bothers me too much. I enjoy checking out every site that presents itself……that’s the positive side of being relatively unknown 🙂

  32. Well. bm, I don’t know how to computer-generate a ‘like’ myself, but I get a bit suspicious when there are more likes than visits and when the likes appear in less time than it would take to read the post.

    Of course the number counting is just a game; the worthwhile aspects of blogging are the challenge of regular writing and the contacts you make with people who really do share your interests.

  33. I really did like your Thankful picture! I love tulips! However, I really did enjoy reading this post and recognised lots of the things you mentioned. Now I’m worried that I may have only skim read this post and missed the point as I do tend to whizz through blogs! Oh me oh my! Let’s hope I have understood well and, hold on, I’ll press ‘post comment’ then rush up to the top to click ‘like’ 🙂

    • Nothing wrong with skim reading, elle, especially on blogs, though we hope occasionally we’ll post something that’s worth a few more seconds of readers’ time. And all likes are appreciated.

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