Likes and Follows


Image stolen from The Oatmeal, which never fails to make me laugh

A piece I wrote earlier today about a sunrise and a handshake with my younger daughter has had several people indicate that they Like it. I don’t use quotes around the word, although that’s the way some people probably write it out. Rather than doing that, which seems to qualify the word in some way, I choose to capitalize it instead. That suggests an amplification, which is how I’d rather think of these things.

I never have, and I never will, write anything solely for the purpose of having anyone Like it. My teen-aged daughter sometimes posts things on Instagram or Facebook, and then complains about how many Likes it gets (or doesn’t get, to be more precise). Whenever you set an expectation that dozens of people are going to respond a certain way to anything you do–especially when that something is found on the internet–you’re just asking to be disappointed. At least, that’s my experience.

Likes are the online equivalent of applause; It expresses approval of something, and it’s completely voluntary as to whether or not it’s offered. It’s very gratifying and humbling–and always welcomed in this section of the digital universe–but it’s never expected. I write these things to capture a moment or preserve a thought before it goes away, but if someone happens across it and appreciates it, that’s just fine with me.

Some of the people who Like something I wrote have gone so far as to Follow my blog (again, I’m capitalizing the word, instead of using quotes around it). And that’s even better, since it tells someone–and in this case it’s me–that other things presented in this space might also be worth looking at. Again, it’s completely free and voluntary, and it’s not the reason that anything ever appears here. But it’s also very humbling, and I’m grateful every time it occurs.

To anyone who’s ever Liked something I wrote here, or decided to Follow whatever I might present here in the future, thank you. I’m happy you’re along for the ride.