A few days ago, I won an award.
What did I get? This blog drew its 100th “Like”.
“Yes,” I hear you ask. “But what was the award?”
That is the award. Well, to be pedantic, the award is a notification from WordPress informing me that “You’ve gotten 100 likes”.
According to WordPress, they award “badges” for significant milestones in followers and likes, because “it’s important to stop, catch your breath, and look at your accomplishments”. They also send notifications when I beat a previous daily record for likes (29 March) and follows (5 April).
OK, that makes sense. Sort of. It’s nice to get a pat on the back for doing something, but I didn’t really do this – it’s you folks reading the blog who grant the likes and become the followers. By that logic, you should be getting the badges, or at least being notified of them. But these badges are only visible to the blogger. I can tell you about them, but that’s it. (Yes, I know I could take a screenshot and post it, but that’s kind of half-assed.)
And yes, I know that if I wasn’t blogging, there wouldn’t be anything for y’all to like and follow. The point here is that I’m being rewarded for your actions. If it was about my accomplishments, the badges should be for significant numbers of posts, or new records in number of posts in a day.
So what is the point of these badges, especially given that the information is available in the site stats? Cynically, I suspect it’s to keep new bloggers around long enough for WordPress to break even on them. The award levels are heavily biased to beginners (5, 10, 20, and 50), and then get very scarce (100, 500, and 1000). Pat the new kids on the head, keep them engaged long enough to seed ads on their pages (or up-sell them to the “no ads” package), and make enough money to cover the cost of their bandwidth and support needs. If they give up after the 50 award, WordPress is good; if they keep going, they’ve got the habit and don’t need further encouragement.
Oh, wait. According to a staff comment on the page linked above, “there’s a little secret if you get over a thousand”. Stick around and push that “Like” count up, won’t you? I want to see if the secret is that I get a pony!
I like your posts. I really do. But I have trouble clicking “like” buttons. Aside from my point in a blog post of my own – http://www.poisonedpenpress.com/vote-for-my-book/ – clicking a “like” button seems to me to reduce communication to the Why Bother? level. If a person can’t say, at least briefly, why they like a post, or a picture, or a story, or a restaurant, they’re either spreading themselves too thin in whatever ground they’re trying to cover, or they’re terminally lazy.
I like your posts because they *are* snarky. To go back to your remark in Words On A Diet, there are plenty of places to find straightforward information on a subject I want/need to know more about. But your writing voice grabs this reader, and wraps him in a cloak of entertainment, so that he chooses to read on about something that in and of itself, he couldn’t care less. Or so he thought. You have a great balance of info and snark. Shorten the posts, that’s fine, but don’t mess with the balance.
Like buttons do have some benefit in terms of promotion. If overused, then yes, they can be a lazy way out (the extreme case – “drive-by liking” – is certainly abuse, IMNSHO). Sure, I’d rather see people commenting so I get some idea of what works and what doesn’t, but at least the unadorned “like” tells me that they read to the bottom and made the decision to click the button instead of just hitting the page and leaving immediately.
Glad to hear that you think I’ve got the balance about right. Today’s post is rather more serious, and tomorrow’s is significantly lighter. If I can get the balance right on both of those, it’ll be a good step forward.