The Phenomenon of Social Likeby@kirill.goryunov
402 reads
402 reads

The Phenomenon of Social Like

by Kirill GoryunovJanuary 17th, 2019
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

The first version of the Like button also known as Awesome button was developed by Facebook in 2007. Mark Zuckerberg was concerned about the public nature of the feature and chose not to launch it until 2009 [1].

People Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail

Companies Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
Mention Thumbnail
featured image - The Phenomenon of Social Like
Kirill Goryunov HackerNoon profile picture

Does like button really matter for your product?

A short history of Like button

The first version of the Like button also known as Awesome button was developed by Facebook in 2007. Mark Zuckerberg was concerned about the public nature of the feature and chose not to launch it until 2009 [1].

Later, In 2010, Like button were added to individuals` comments and other content [2]. Since then, almost all public activity on Facebook have been likable. Also Facebook started to include posts and user links that liked in their timelines, as part of the activity log.

This changed liking from a relatively private action (from one user to another, visible only to the friends of the user whose object was liked) to a fundamentally public gesture.

In essence, the Like button contains a binary code: Either users like a content or they remain indifferent.

Facebook does not contain a Dislike button. It was tested as a private feature but Facebook decided that it would discourage people from sharing [3]

Key terms of social Like

According to Facebook:

“Like is a way to give positive feedback or to connect with things you care about on Facebook. You can like content that your friends post to give them feedback or like a Page that you want to connect with on Facebook.”

Liking a content

Liking the post, comment, photo, etc is one of the most common and simple and frequent forms of activity on Facebook. In 2019, users liked an astonishing 4 million objects every minute.

Economic term

The Like button is a central element in the emerging reputation-based cluster of business models. It powers a growing share of Web-based companies. Gerlitz and Helmond (2013) claim that “the Like economy” is the next step in the evolution of Internet money-making principles.

Before “the Like economy”, the value of a Web site was relative to the individual visitors (hits) it received. The “hit economy” (Rogers, 2002, cited in Gerlitz and Helmond, 2013) was replaced by Google’s PageRank algorithm. This was based on the number and value of the hyperlinks created between Web sites rather than on individual hits on a Web site.

During the “Like”phase, the Like button has emerged as the source of valuation for Web pages giving birth to the Like economy.

Political implications and uses

The pros and cons of liking are frequently evoked in discussions concerning social media and political participation. A Pew study (Rainie, et al., 2012) found that 38% of U.S. social network users have used social media to “like or promote material related to politics or social issues.”

Like language

Table 1: The frequency of the factors that affect liking

The two most popular types of likes were “friendship like” ( a user liked the object because the poster was with an important person to him or her) and “I noted your post like” (a user liked the object posted on his or her Facebook wall to convey the message “I noticed your post, thank you for it”).

These actions, in addition to the positive signal, carry meanings related to the stability of the relationship between a liker and a receiver of the likes. They are intended to strengthen a connection between these two.

These findings speak of the important impact of the social effect on liking behaviour. They were further supported by the fact that almost half of the respondents had used network like, façade like and tie maintenance like.

  • With a network like, a user likes an object/ a content because other Facebook friends already liked it.
  • With the façade like, the user liked the object because he or she wanted to look good in the eyes of his or her Facebook friends (imagined network audience).
  • The maintenance like, the user liked the object because he or she wanted to maintain the relationship with his or her Facebook friend.


Social like is the most easily recognized currency of social networking platforms. This is a phenomenal invention that causes a boom of content growth in social networking industry.

People found the ways to interact to each other through content they share and use social like as a new form of communications and signals.

Thereby, social like played a key role in content creation growth, engagement and use of social network platforms.



  1. Johan Egebark and Mathias Ekström, 2011. “Like what you like or like what others like? Conformity and peer effects on Facebook,” Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Working Paper, number 886 (14 October), at, accessed 27 May 2015.

  2. Nicole Ellison and danah boyd, 2013. “Sociality through social network sites,” In: William H. Dutton (editor) Oxford handbook of Internet studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 151–172.doi:, accessed 27 May 2015.

  3. Carolin Gerlitz and Anne Helmond, 2013. “The Like economy: Social buttons and the data-intensive Web,” New Media & Society, volume 15, number 8, pp. 1,348–1,365.doi:, accessed 27 May 2015.

  4. Veikko Eranti and Markku Lonkila, 2015. “The social significance of the Facebook Like button”,
  5. Courtney Seiter, 2016, Research, “The Secret Psychology of Facebook: Why We Like, Share, Comment and Keep Coming Back”