What’s Your Motivation for Liking and Retweeting?

Last week, I had a mentally stirring conversation with my friend Stacy, who is also a blogger. I point this out because most of my conversations these days lack any kind of substance whatsoever.

So here’s a slightly abridged and paraphrased version of the discussion.

ME: “I feel like we bloggers are a self-serving lot of brown nosing, Facebook liking and commenting, mutual admiration society.”

STACY: “yeah, you know you’ve sold your soul to the devil when you start liking without even looking, just to suck up to the user who has a bigger following than you do.”

ME: “and what’s with Twitter users repeatedly retweeting ALL the posts of their newest Twitter idol? They might as well send the person a direct message saying ‘hi there, my name’s D and I’m a needy, opportunistic stalker. Please notice me. Follow me. Like Me!!! Please, please, PLEASE!!!!!'”

STACY: “Was I being THAT obvious?”

So that’s pretty much gist of the conversation, which soon turned violent and ended with me unfriending Stacy on Facebook and her unfollowing me on Twitter.

However, it brings up an excellent question that’s just begging to be used as an essay question on sociology exams. “Why do we click like or retweet?”

A quick examination of my own Facebook behavior reveals that there are more motivations than simply “liking” the content of the post itself.

Here’s a statistically semi-accurate breakdown of my latest liking activity. Feel free to judge me. But at least I’m bold enough to admit my own shallowness, neediness and passive-aggressiveness. (My goodness. That’s a mess of “ness.”)

56%-genuinely liked the post.

22%-would really prefer to comment, but I’m probably on my phone and don’t want to type that much, so clicking “like” is better than nothing.
9%-similar to above, but the post is usually bad news or “prayers needed” and my clicking “like” doesn’t mean I actually like your bad news, but at least I’m acknowledging that I read it and hope/pray for the best outcome. Facebook really needs an “acknowledge” button.
18%-offered an obligatory, appreciative like because the user who posted it often likes my posts and I want to reciprocate.
14%-didn’t really have an opinion on the post, but like the person very much.
12%-thought the content was unbelievably asinine, but the user is a blogger with a tremendous fan base. And I secretly hate her because of it. Therefore I’ll like everything that she posts in hopes that she’ll notice me, read my writing (which is far better) and start liking and retweeting my blog posts.
8%-recently ran into the user in public, was glad to see them and therefore will click “like” the very next time they post, even if it’s an emoji of smiling poo.
5%-clicked like on several posts in a row because: a) I was recently rude/unfriendly to that user
b) made a snarky comment on their last post and now I feel bad about it c) am apologizing for stealing that user’s boyfriend in high school.
4%-you owe me money or need to return something I lent you and I don’t want to have to come out and ask for it. So I’ll just keep liking your stuff so you’ll see my name and hopefully remember that $50/pair of sandals/fake ID/soldering iron/taser I loaned you.
3%-liked a controversial news piece in hopes that it will annoy my FB friends who disagree with my political views.

And that, my friends, adds up to 129%, or something like that. So, tell me, what makes YOU click like?

Be honest.
This entry was posted in psychology of Facebook behavior, Why do people like things on Facebook, why do we retweet and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to What’s Your Motivation for Liking and Retweeting?

  1. Yes, I agree…quite a fascinating, intellectually stimulating question, Angela. First of all, I'm sorry that your exchange with your 'friend' took a horrible turn. And now to answer your question..What makes me 'Like'? After giving this thought, I can tell you that I have to like the person for me to click 'like'. I also never 'like' without reading posts for those I don't personally know. I do admit that I've commented or shared a few times posts that I didn't think were impressive at all but they were written by 'big shots'. After that though, I felt like a whore and needed a shower. LOL!


  2. Lol, thanks, Joy. Love your “whore and needed a shower” ending. My conversation with Stacy didn't really turn violent. I just normally pepper my writing with random minor bombshells like “and then I stabbed him.” It's weird, I know. Just something I do to try to make stories more entertaining. Or maybe I have a subconscious dark side that shows up in my writing.


  3. Rose says:

    Most “likes” = I know you, so it doesn't matter whether I really like it or not, I want you to succeed, even if you're full of sh*t. We women have to stick together.


  4. I would add – liked the photo, wish i had time to read it but may never happen, and oh yeah…I actually like it!! #VABloggers


  5. Haha that's really interesting! I feel like blogging has definitely made me MUCH more active on social media haha. I think it's also because I'm a community manager for my 9-5 job, so I know how much brands appreciate a thoughtful comment or Like 🙂


  6. Julie says:

    Funny post! I would add: liked your post about your kids latest accomplishments to make me feel less guilty about my excessive posts about my kids. (i.e. you endured my braggy parent post so I will like yours).


  7. I have found myself on social media sites much more since I started my blog, but I try to only like and share things that I truly like. Also, I did a massive clean out of my (personal) FB, so frenemies' posts are no longer a temptation. My hope is that people will see the positivity I put out and read (or not) as they need to–I've been trying not to worry about whether or not “big” bloggers/ whomever read my stuff. Good insights, though. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  8. A Wallz says:

    Most of my likes tend to be because I genuinely like something. I really liked this blog post – it's bold and transparent…and totally shines a light on my inner dialogue when blogging. I tend to read people's blogs and try to figure out what makes them “successful.” I've also been guilty of a lot of your indiscretions above, however, I promise I genuinely like this post.


  9. Bronwyn Joy says:

    To be fair, sometimes I do RT a disproportionate amount of a new idol's stuff, but that's just because I am in the first flush of love where I can't get enough of their feed and tend to think everybody else feels the same.

    I sense it tends to get a little creepy if I overdo it, though.

    Otherwise, I have a rule about clicking like when I haven't read the thing (apart from anything else, too many writers use misdirection – don't want to get caught out) and I'm recently cutting down on the like button in general. I'm experimenting with more of an endorse-the-comment approach which I feel adds better feedback to the original poster.

    Disclaimer: I suck at SEO and driving traffic etc so this is probably not a good gaming strategy if that's people's bag.


  10. Coco says:

    I probably don't “like” enough on FB because I just don't think to do it, but now I'm learning that I need to “like” everything from every person/page I want to show up in my feed, otherwise FB will hide it from me — I think. As for sharing blog posts on twitter, I do read first and only share those I like or that raise interesting points — like this one. 😉


  11. It's been so much fun reading all your comments. Thanks so much to everyone who shared your thoughts with me. I'll be checking out your blogs. And I'll try to be more sincere in my social networking activity 🙂


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