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?