Blogging and Writing

Do Meaningless Blog “Likes” from Serial Likers Bother You?

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I know some bloggers get annoyed by meaningless likes on their posts, and this is something Rory of A Guy Called Bloke brought up not long ago, so I thought it would be a good topic to chat about.

Rapid-fire serial likers

First off, what do I mean by meaningless likes? I’m talking about when people like a post without reading it. This can happen in a couple of different ways. One is the rapid-fire serial liker who pulls up your blog in the Reader and goes along and likes 20 posts in the space of one second. They’re very easy to spot, especially if you happen to be on WP and see the notifications all at once. I don’t understand why people do this. Sure, they get your attention, but in a bad way, so I’m not sure why they think that’s serving them.

Subtle serial likers

Then there’s what I call the subtle serial liker. These are harder to spot and harder to figure out. Sometimes it seems like people will cruise through the WP Reader and like every post. Some people I’ve spotted doing this have quite large followings and massive numbers of likes per post, so I’m guessing that style of serial liking is a tactical strategy that works, if numbers are what one is after.

One way of noticing meaningless likes is if you post something like a Youtube video and someone points out it’s not working, yet several people have already liked it (as happened recently when I pointed out that a video posted by Andy of Eden in Babylon wasn’t working). Or someone might like a post only 2.5 seconds after it’s published.

Another way of noticing it is if you happen to be looking at a specific tag in the Reader and you see that someone has liked every single post under that tag.

Why people do it

The point of serial liking is typically to try to get people to reciprocate by following/reading/liking the liker’s blog posts. It may seem artificial, because it is, but it works; you’ll find that a lot of serial likers have quite large followings and lots of likes per post.

How do you react?

So, how do you react if you do notice meaningless likes?

I generally don’t care, aside from being puzzled about why anyone would bother. It seems to me that it’s not that hard to differentiate genuine readers from likely non-readers. I appreciate the genuine readers and don’t think much about the rest. I value likes as a means of readers saying hi, I stopped by, and knowing that some of them are meaningless doesn’t detract from my appreciation of the ones that are genuine. Personally, I’m a big fan of the like button because I don’t have the mental energy to comment on everything I read, although I know not everyone likes it (or likes like, if you will).

The reality of blogging is that you can’t control how others will behave on your site. There’s the option not to include a like button on your posts, but that also prevents people from being able to drop a quick hi, I stopped by, and I liked what I saw. It’s the latter group I care about. I have no desire to change my blogging approach based on people that don’t matter to me.

Do you get annoyed by meaningless likes? If so, have you thought about taking any steps to try to prevent them?

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111 thoughts on “Do Meaningless Blog “Likes” from Serial Likers Bother You?”

  1. I was kinda tempted to just rapid-fire “like” this post and a bunch of others and leave 😉

    In all seriousness, this doesn’t bother me. I am a sucker for attention and appreciation, so I’m pretty ok with likes in all forms.

  2. Meaningless likes are, well, meaningless to me. So are meaningless comments. I’ve noticed certain tags bring a bit more traffic to my site and the comments people then leave have me scratching my head. Did they think I would then hop over to their blog and like or comment? Well then they would be wrong. Often you can tell exactly what a blog is about by the title making them easy to ignore. So much crappy-dap. I do wish there were other options besides ‘Like’ – because some posts are read but not actually liked because they are sad…I don’t really like when bloggers I follow are sad or are having a bad time of it. I suppose a supportive comment would be appropriate but that makes me feel intrusive.

    1. I like emojis for that purpose. And yeah, something feels a bit wrong about liking someone’s post saying they’re feeling terrible.

  3. I just recently discovered a guy from the UK (I think) who did this. He liked one of my posts and he looked new so I went to read one of his. While I liked his post back and contemplated following him, I clicked around to see if he had an about page when suddenly, my notifications went berserk. 20 likes in 10 seconds or something.

    It was him.

    I declined to follow him because as a writer and reader, this sort of behaviour leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

    I don’t expect new followers to spend hours reading all my content, but liking 20+ posts in seconds means he didn’t even read the title.

    So for now, I’m not following or reading him. Doesn’t mean I won’t in the future, but the time is not now.

    Incidentally, the first few posts I did read on his blogs were all about stats, how-tos and thank-yous and invitations to like and follow. Doesn’t work that way for me.

  4. Does it really matter if they rapidly like. They are free it’s a choice you can’t stop them. Most people are so impatience to read a whole lot of write up .they feel reading is stressful rather the scheming on it. Gone are the days you see people calming and do reading, going to library to research not anymore, Liking is an appreciation it doesn’t mean 85%/100 won’t read . For me it normal.

  5. I don’t really get likes of the kind you mention, but there are some spammy-seeming accounts that like some of my posts, which annoys me a bit. I noticed recently that I’m getting liked and followed by a quite a few accounts that use the same two or three faces as their userpic with account names that seemed unimaginatively structured as “first name-last name-number”.

  6. 🙂 I also deal with this topic in the past.

    Sadly, there will always be people who will press the “Like” button without ever reading our blog posts.

    On the other hand, shy people would prefer to press the “Like” button as a way of showing their appreciation.

    The annoying part about serial likers is when they press the “Like” button on every comment in my blog’s commenting section (They do those things to acquire attention; they want the commenters to have a look at their blog).

    I have not removed the “Like” button from my blog because it would affect bloggers who genuinely liked my blog posts and would want the press the “Like” button.

    1. I know a few bloggers that like every comment legitimately as part of their engagement with the post, but it’s certainly annoying when people do it in a spammy fashion.

  7. I don’t get annoyed by it, I just don’t understand it. What’s the purpose of it? I’m not going to come check your blog out if you’re liking mine without reading it. I’ve learned to ignore likes altogether.

  8. No idea there was such a thing! Interesting read. I love the like button. Not much time for responding as I’d like to the aeons of awesomeness. Serial likes makes no sense to me. Do folks get prizes from the amount of likes? Curious now…

  9. To be honest, my reaction is mixed. In a way, I like to see more “likes” on my posts, no matter the motive of the liker. It at least makes it “look” like a popular post. And who doesn’t like being popular?

    But in another way — which in my opinion is the “higher” way — it bothers me that someone is being disingenuous. If they didn’t actually read it (or hear the video) isn’t it a bit hypocritical to pretend that they liked it?

    I do want to say that I appreciate the few regular followers whom I have — I can count five of them — because I can know and trust that they don’t put a “like” there unless they actually liked it. That’s valuable to me. Better to have five honest readers than five thousand fakes.

    1. I think that’s key. When you know who your regular readers are, that’s when you can tell which likes matter and which are take it or leave it.

      As for the higher way, I think there are a lot of different reasons why people behave the way they do in the blogging world. The people who are doing that kind of thing have their own purpose, and to frame it as disingenuous or hypocritical suggests that they have the motivations of a blogger like you or me, and I highly doubt that’s their motivation at all. I think they’re relying on a certain percentage of people to automatically go and like back, simple as that.

  10. Hey there,

    This one really spoke to me. Thank you for writing it.

    Annoying is one thing. And then there is the business of having to put up solid boundaries with every stranger who may approach you because you never know who’s been reading your stuff, studying your Achilles’ heels and preparing to attack you. Sigh!

    Am I hypervigilant about manipulators? Oh yea.

  11. Do you get annoyed by meaningless likes? If so, have you thought about taking any steps to try to prevent them?

    Honestly? I can’t say I’ve ever paid attention to that whole ‘like’ business. Well not serious attention. I have noticed, twice, when someone unknown came to my blog and serial liked. They never said a word either. Not sure why they were liking so much, but nothing further happened and no fall out so eh.

    I see the advantage of a ‘like’ option (for the reason you gave too), I’m simply too tired some days to do more than speed read and ‘like’. I’ll make the effort if the blog really grabs me though tired or not. Obviously your blog tends to grab me more than not! LOL

    I thought when they first introduced the whole idea of the like option that it was silly, Facebookish and juvenile to the point of irritating. That list thing that pops up if you pass over the like button is my worst irritant about the whole thing. If I want to find out all the dozens of likers a blogger has gotten, I’ll research for myself. I don’t want a list popping up like that. If it’s to motivate a liker to visit those other blogs, then at least with me? They failed. I’m less likely to visit a blog that I’m forced into visiting because of a misclick . It’s not the blogger’s fault, it’s WordPresses.

    Maybe it does irritate me more than I thought. Hmm

  12. I think likes serve a purpose. While I would probably appreciate everyone who follows to read every word written, I know it isn’t feasible. For me, I do give them and receive them as an an acknowledgment .

  13. Connecting with people is about the only benefit for us from blogging so comments are worth more to us than likes. That said, empty likes annoy us.

    When we’re writing about dissociation and get a like from ManageYourFinances or BlogMarketing type blogs, we used to wonder if they have a mental health interest or a loved one with a concern, etc. Now, we’re just skeptical. Without a comment, we’ll never know and the like doesn’t feel very connecting.

  14. Serial likers really do grind my gears, it just screams FAKE and it disappoints me knowing some bloggers are like that. Have you written about other ways to support a blogger? Sorry if you have… baby brain!

    1. I think it is fake, and I doubt they’re trying to hide that. They’re looking for that chunk of people who will go and look at their blog. I used to wonder if they just didn’t know better, but now I think it’s purely strategic, and it works enough of the time that they keep doing it.

  15. I don’t think I get likes on my WordPress site. Maybe because it’s managed through a company that I pay monthly. Likes on Medium are nice.

  16. Interesting that you should post about this Ashleyleia because at times I wonder the same thing. I enjoy connecting with others in comments after I read their post. At times I will get distracted and forget to comment lol 😆 There are some followers that just like and never comment. Whatever floats your boat, I think you and I are in agreement on this one.

  17. I don’t do serial likes. I tend to read the post before liking it as some of the bloggers I follow can go either way on a topic. In some cases, I agree with them; in other cases, I don’t. With some people I follow, they either do mostly photos or short posts. In those cases, I may only like the post without giving more feedback. In one case, a blogger loves to post several thousand word posts, sometimes exceeding 10,000 words. I rarely read her posts as the short ones take a while. I may read the early sections to see if I think she makes a valid point.

    The more interesting ones are the ones with fake blogs. I click on the blog and get a blog not found notice. In some cases, they use a different blog and for whatever reason don’t want the other blog to be found.

    1. 10,000 words is quite the commitment to expect from readers!

      The blog not found error is often because people have changed their domain name at some point, but their Gravatar is still associated with their old domain name.

  18. I think I used to be a tiny bit bothered when I first started blogging because you think it’s a reflection on your own posts, but not so much now, no. Like you, I see the ‘like’ as someone saying hi, just dropping by. When you don’t have the energy to fully read or comment on everything (which is even more of an issue if you follow a lot of people), it’s a nice enough way to acknowledge a blogger’s post and show some kind of support. I realised that what I have an issue with is really just when someone goes through rapid fire liking about 20 posts one after the other, and I get a bunch of emails about each ‘like’ filling my inbox. That’s annoying and it seems so pointless, so I imagine they’re just trying to get likes in return. xx

    1. A pile of emails would be annoying. Being on WordPress.com, I’m able to get all of my notifications in the WP Reader, so I have all email notifications turned off.

  19. I like to read the whole post before I hit “like” to show support if I can’t think of a comment. But I also “like” every post that I read, as a bookmark for myself. 😅

    I don’t like meaningless likes. Fake followers and fake likes won’t get them anywhere in business, in my opinion. People want good content and an engaging community.

    1. Good points. I agree, and there seems to be a lot of fakeness out there because people – and brands – get hung up on numbers. A lot of opportunities for ‘influencers’ depend on their stats, after all.

      Just looking at the number of likes is a bit like, in my mind, seeing how many followers someone has – the numbers in and of themselves don’t mean anything. It’s whether there’s a genuine, authentic engagement that counts. 5 people reading and truly engaging is more valuable than 1000 ‘followers’ that like posts but never read or engage or perhaps even like your content at all.

      1. I think newer bloggers often fail to realize how little meaning follower numbers are. The bigger a blog gets, the easier it is to see that at least 90% of new followers are just spammy.

  20. As you know, I am not a fan of a liker who obviously has not read much than the title itself, while clicking like button on something like 10 posts in 1 minute.
    As you know, before I come to leaving WordPress for Blogger, for different reasons, I removed the like button from my WordPress blog.

        1. I think some people ‘like’ to see the likes on a post because it makes them feel like it’s more successful, to show in a visual way that people have visited the post and read it (though obviously a like doesn’t necessarily mean that at all).

          1. Likes also function as a form of “social proof”; when people can see that others are interested in something, they’re more likely to be interested in it as well.

  21. Rapid fire bloggers are rather weird! But nowadays I spend so little time looking at notifications I hardly notice, so I cannot say it bothers me.

  22. I don’t have enough exposure yet to be able to differentiate the meaningless likes from the genuine. That being said I’m sure on some level it might irk me just because I (like most others I’m sure) post for people to read what I write. On the other hand I started my blog for therapeutic and cathartic purposes, so I guess the likes are just an added bonus?

  23. Oh yeah, ‘Sebastian’ is always quick off the mark with me too! I do normally get to know the regulars though, the ones who like but don’t comment. For the most part, it’s clear that it’s been read, but if I’m online and suddenly get a flurry of likes I find it irritating. I like my notifications to notify me of important stuff, not spam! And I once emailed someone who was a prolific liker but who clicked about 10 likes in as many seconds, and asked why they do that. I wasn’t getting in their face, but genuinely curious. Turns out she has trad something a long time ago that she liked and she wanted to just keep liking my stuff even if she didn’t want to read it anymore. The likes (from her) dried up from that moment on though, so fair play to her, she did at least stop and think about it.
    I never like a post I haven’t read, but I do sometimes like it to show I’ve read it, though I often forget to ‘like’ if I’ve commented instead. For me, a like means: I read it and I liked it, but either have nothing to add or haven’t got the time to comment, so I’m leaving you with a quick wave before I offski.

  24. As a shy person I am a big fan of the like button. I may not comment regularly, but I’m reading and feeling impacted by writers (like you 😊) on WordPress everyday…both through their writing and the comments that develop from them.

    1. I like the like button too. I don’t have enough mental energy to comment on everything I read, so the like button is perfect for that.

  25. True…we have no control over what others do…yes, there are many whi just press the like button without bothering to even have a look at the blog, leave alone reading or understand it…maybe it’s a material world, so many play the game if a like for like..
    Have a beautiful day.
    Stay blessed 🙏🌹🙏

  26. It would be very boring to blog into empty space so I wouldn’t remove my likes or comments. But I do notice those serial likers and feel slighy disappointment. Lately though, I’ve had a boom of spammy newbies commenting “Great post, will you please read mine, I just started blogging”. Argh, that irks me much more. I mark them as spam.

  27. I guess I’ve never thought that much into it, to be honest. Any positive thing on my blog is ok with me. Plus, as a person who constantly has problems juggling too much all at once sometimes I think perhaps someone wanted to support me but was short on time themselves.

  28. It bothers me a lot. Perhaps because my blog has dwindled from its early days when I’d get dozens of views a day, so now those meaningless “follow me back” likes represent the majority of the interaction I get. I write for myself AND ALSO for other people, so it does bug me that I’ve put out some of the best writing of my life (in my opinion) lately and it’s gained less traction than the written-in-10-minutes rants I’ve had in the past. I’ve heard that from a lot of writers though; drama sells, well reasoned opinion is difficult to focus on unless you have a vested interest.

    I’m also guilty of doing it, though. One of my caretaking behaviors that I need to stamp out. If I see a post from someone I usually enjoy reading but don’t have time to read it at the moment, I’ll leave a like “just to make them happy”. Ugh. I feel gross just writing that, lol. I only do this with people from whom I read most content, though. The fake likes I get are from people who I’ve never seen before and will never see again.

    1. I’ve noticed that quality of writing has very little to do with what’s popular in the blogging world. Posts that I think of as fluff almost always gain more views and likes than the posts that are more meaningful to me. It is what it is.🤷🏻‍♀️

  29. Yeah they do bother me a little to be honest. I mean I’d just appreciate it if someone took the time to actually read what I’ve written 🤷‍♀️

  30. Intresting i got to know about this today I was not able identify if someone was liking my post without reading as I am new blogger but it would be definitely annoying for you people it is the platform made for these stuff so it must be used wisely😊 and for your question I love any random like because as a new blogger I get motivation😅. Loved your post🥰

  31. What I dislike most is when I’m having a negative interaction with someone and they hit the Like on my replies before bashing me and it’s like… Why? It’s so disingenuous. It’s as though you want to offend me while simultaneously giving me the Like in exchange for my not unfollowing your own blog. Like, hehe see, it’s all in good fun! When you just attacked me.

  32. I was about to like this post after reading the title just for the fun but true… Well, it doesn’t really bother me. Although I usually skip on the names since it’s pretty obvious they weren’t genuine. Some of them might just be trying to build connections though. Anyway, I don’t really know much about likes here on WordPress (not that I know a lot though). Does it affect your ranking in any way? I haven’t really read any article talking about it.

  33. I am trying to be the type of blogger that if I like a post I will comment on it. If I don’t have a comment then I usually won’t like it.

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