We’re deluged with endless Likes. The Default Path in the social media arena drives us inexorably towards blithery Happy-Talk. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Facebook’s lightweight, eclectic, scattershot approach to reality:

LOL cats are always fun, I get all teary-eyed with animal rescue sagas, and I actually enjoy the fact that friends want to keep me apprised on what they eat. It’s kind of like watching Saturday morning cartoons …… all day. Every day.

Actually, that’s also exactly why I use Linked In. The discussion is – or should be – a bit more robust.

The Liking Principle

The Nielsen Norman Group has done a nice job of quantifying the psychology of compliance.

One of the best things about LinkedIn is the vigorous debate that is often exercised within a Discussion topic. It’s easy to tell when people agree. It’s not so easy to tell whether there’s disagreement. That’s why

the tyranny of the LIKE button is not necessarily a good thing.


I want my “Dislike” button

Actually, that’s not quite true. I’m not necessarily a hater. But I’d like to see a little more subtlety and variety in our discussion tools. Surely the Like button makes sense. But isn’t there more to life?


  • If I agree with you, I can easily “Like” what you’ve said. Affirmation is one click away.
  • If I disagree with you, I have to invest substantial effort in making it obvious. And I expose myself to risks that are the flipside of “the liking principle”.

A “common sense” UX principle is: If you make something easy to do, it is likelier to happen. A Like button increases acquiescence. The more “likes” something has, the less likely it is that someone will disagree. And so on …

Consider the Comment: “If we continue on this path, we’ll all be out of business in a year” You may Agree with it – even if you don’t Like it.

Rule of Thumb

Quora offers “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” as equally-weighted options. You can easily agree or disagree with a comment, without the overhead of needing to like what is said.

That kind of makes sense – and it works, too.  Especially for a ‘not Facebook-y’ content-oriented sevice

* Originally published on my LinkedIn Pulse October 24, 2015



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