Why I did not “Like” a single post on Facebook for one Year.

Have you ever thought what will happen if you start to leave comments instead of likes on each post you want to like on Facebook? Last October I did and started with an experiment. I asked myself: How will my experience on Facebook change and how will people perceive me if I do not like their posts anymore, but instead share a comment for one year.

Last year I noticed some awkward changes in my feed. The entire feed was crowded, with posts from pages I like. Hardly any post presented me insights and news from my friends. At one point I thought no one is posting on Facebook anymore. Am I missing something, I asked myself. Meanwhile, Facebook updated the algorithm, but at one point I thought that way.

The next 365 days I will not like any post on Facebook. No posts from friends or pages I follow. Instead, I will have to leave at least an emoji, a sentence or just one word. A “Like” is not allowed, comments are.

First of all the experience on Facebook should change, because their algorithm starts to learn and adjust the news feed they present to me. And second, my visibility and presence in the feed of my friends should change too. Which means they not only see my interest in their life (compared to a plain “Like”), they will also have the chance to engage with me.

As you might expect, while reading this, it was not easy to not hit the “Like” button in the first few days. I was used to it. Speed reading the newsfeed and on the way to its end (even though there is no) hitting the “Like” button all the time if a post appears appealing to me and my interests. Though this was dangerous in the first place, because the algorithm started to think I am just a news addict, not interested in the life of my friends and family.

After a few days, I began to get used to it. Despite it consumes more time to browse the updates I see now. Only after a few days, some of my friends already approached me and asked what I am doing. After explaining them the hypothesis of my experiment, some of them joined or at least gave it a try.

When you stick to the idea for a few weeks, you recognise that comments result in extra pleasure. The chances that a dialog originates when you post a comment, compared to a like, are higher. More often my friends and I started to talk for a while when I left a comment. I learned lots of new things, got inspired, got tips for my last holiday, got to know my friends better and on the other hand received more comments and likes in return.

One year passed by, and I will further live without “Likes” on Facebook. My newsfeed started to act differently, at least to me. Throughout the experiment, Facebook altered the logic of the algorithm, which makes the evaluation difficult. I know. Despite that, I started to see more and more posts of my friends and engaged with them more frequently. And suddenly the social network is fun again. The next challenge would be to minimise “Likes” on Instagram, Twitter and other platforms too. We will see if I am up to that.

I suggest you take up the challenge too and notice how things change. It is worth a try because comments demonstrate more interest than a “Like” or other reactions on Facebook in my point of view.

Have you tried it already or have similar experiences? Share them with me in the comments or on Twitter (@natterstefan).

Written by

I am a Software Engineer from Austria 🇦🇹. I write about JavaScript, TypeScript, ReactJS and NodeJS. 📧 Weekly NL Series: https://newsletter.natterstefan.me

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