Hiding ‘Likes’ to Protect Feelings [PHIL-OSOPHY]
Facebook is running a test in Australia that hides "like" counts on posts. They want to see if that will make people feel better.
As the author of the post, though, you and only you can still see the thumbs up or thumbs down. This test gets rid of the ability for others to see the reaction to a story.
Facebook wants to gauge whether this feature can improve the user's sense of well-being. Instagram began a similar test earlier this year and discovered that users liked hiding the likes.
I've always believed, like a bad boy rebel, that engagement is the worst way to judge the success of your content. This may surprise you to hear, because most people base success on the amount of traffic and clicks you get and how many likes and shares an article creates.
Don't misunderstand me, these things matter – to an extent. They help you judge the content of the piece, but if this is what you're after, you're living in a marshmallow world. It's the same as saying if a post is highly engaged, it must have good content and if one is poorly engaged, the content is bad. I don't buy it a damn bit.
I've found the more educated and sophisticated your audience is, the less engagement you'll get from your content. On the other hand, to more vulnerable people, highly engaging content creates a dopamine spike of its own. Freud can explain this better than me.
So if likes, shares, and love-hearts are important to you, then you'll probably have a thought or two about Facebook's test. As for me, I'm less engaged by it.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.