Tag Archives: like


The following involves research which may or may not be true.

The first study1 suggests we learn faster when we freely choose what to learn (as opposed to being forced). With agency, we are in control and change how we learn from our experiences.

However, this can also backfire as we can become delusional and think that we have control when we don’t. For example, following a sports superstition that does not change the game’s outcome.

The second research2 suggests that we like things because we chose them. This is backwards, since common sense dictates we choose things because we like them. This is really interesting since it suggests we rationalize our choice after the fact or ipso facto (by the fact itself).

These two phenomenons pair together and raise all kind of questions. Imagine a kid who freely chooses basketball and gets much better (than their peers who may not have chosen it). Does the kid like the sport since they are good at it or because they chose to play it in the first place? Of course, someone can have multiple reasons for why they like something, and it’s impossible to generalize since there are so many individual environmental factors to consider.

As a parent, I wonder how this can be utilized, and I don’t mean in some nefarious way. I take it to mean encouraging kids to pursue playing, reading, or learning whatever they want to. That way they will enjoy how they spend their time since they chose it.

Choice is a powerful thing, but it can also be paralyzing. With too many choices, you can waste a lot of time trying to find the best decision. The paradox of choice. Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed sometimes with prioritizing how I should be spending my free time. I don’t have an answer for this besides “do your best”, and the research suggests you will like it since you chose it. How amazing is that?

  1. Chambon, V., Théro, H., Vidal, M. et al. Information about action outcomes differentially affects learning from self-determined versus imposed choices. Nat Hum Behav 4, 1067–1079 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-0919-5
  2. Silver, A. M., Stahl, A. E., Loiotile, R., Smith-Flores, A. S., & Feigenson, L. (2020). When Not Choosing Leads to Not Liking: Choice-Induced Preference in Infancy. Psychological Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797620954491

Google Reader +1 Change: This is all your fault Facebook

This post is all semantics and concerns Google Reader. Knowing fully well that most people have never heard of Google Reader (this guy uses it), allow me to rant.

Once upon a time, Facebook rolled out the Like button. It was widely adopted across the web.

Facebook Like Button

Facebook defines the like button as:

The Like button lets a user share your content with friends on Facebook. When the user clicks the Like button on your site, a story appears in the user’s friends’ News Feed with a link back to your website.

In the definition, there is no explicit indication that the Facebook user approves/enjoys/etc. the content shared. But as anyone who speaks English will tell you, Liking something indicates that you find the content shared agreeable.

Not surprisingly, this has led to countless occasions where Facebook users have ‘Liked’ content that they do not (in plain English) like. See this bit about AT&T users on Facebook.

Updated Google Reader Screenshot

Today, Google rolled out their Google Reader update.

Before today’s update, you could Star, Like, Share, Share with note, Email, Keep Unread, and Tag Google Reader content. Those are each separate, independent actions:

Google Reader - Before Update Actions

Google defines sharing content as:

When you find interesting items on Reader, you can choose to share them on Google+ publicly, or with a certain circles or friends. You can also add a comment in the sharebox to your shared items. Your comment will show up along with the item you’ve recommended in the streams of those you’ve shared with.

Today, you can Star, +1, Email, Keep Unread, or Tag Google Reader content:

Google Reader - Updated Actions

I’m OK with this except for one workflow detail. Before you can share any Google Reader item, you need to first +1 it.

Google explains that +1 means:

+1 gets conversations going. Click the +1 button to give something your public stamp of approval. Then, if you want to share right away, add a comment and send it to the right circles on Google+.

Their Reader blog says:

The ability to +1 a feed item (replacing “Like”), with an option to then share it with your circles on Google+ (replacing “Share” and “Share with Note”).

The Google Reader update makes you give your “stamp of approval” on content before you can share it with friends. With content on the internet, there is plausibly content that you want to share (because you find it interesting) but do not approve of. For me, the Google Reader content that I Like (in the broadest sense of enjoying and approving of content) is a small subset of content that I Share. But interesting content (shared) & approved content (liked) don’t need to intersect.

Google has a superior system in place. By that, I mean that +1 & sharing to Circles are two distinct actions in Google+ VS the conflated Like action in Facebook. Google, please separate the steps of explicitly approving content (+1) and sharing content among friends (sharing to Circles). Just place “Share to Circle(s)” between “+1” and “Email” under each Google Reader content piece.


Update 11/10/11: Share has been added.

Follow Us Vocab

An ad spotted on the subway for Luna Park:

Luna Park Subway Ad

The ad says “Follow Us” whereas each site offers different vocab for interaction:

  • Facebook – Like (to follow) company pages / Share posts & links
  • Twitter – Follow profiles / ReTweet tweets
  • YouTube – Subscribe to channels / Watch videos
  • Flickr – Add contacts / Tag photos
  • Foursquare – Follow brands / Check-in to venues

I Like This

Heart written in sand

On the internet, there is a commonly implemented feature, the LIKE link (or button). For example, in Facebook, one can click LIKE on a news event. Also in Google Reader, one can also click LIKE on an RSS item. The LIKE feature is widespread on the internet and is a good way to quickly gauge audience reception. Note that there is usually no DISLIKE button, most likely due to the fact that the internet can easily turn into a hate filled place and a DISLIKE button would encourage negativity.

However, what exactly is the user indicating that they like?

Does the user like the news event? Does the user like the author’s writing style? Does the user like the image used? There are endless scenarios that could lead a person to click on LIKE. Websites, in the interest of fostering community and continued page views, do not care enough to distinguish this. Maybe it is enough for the website that the user has seen the content, reacted positively, and clicked LIKE.

It’s possible to increase the clarity and usefulness of the LIKE feature. For example:

  • Why – This is the reason that the user likes the item. It could be a category drop down box, a comment box for elaboration, etc. This would make the LIKE feature much more complicated to use and present to users, but it would make it clear what the user actually likes.
  • Dislike – As long as users can LIKE things, it’s always possible that they may instead NOT LIKE things and thus DISLIKE them. By being honest with your users, a website can allow users to indicate what items they LIKE and DISLIKE. If DISLIKE was implemented, it would be important to keep it constructive, if such a thing is possible on the internet. It would be preferable to keep things civil by letting the user express why they dislike it, and try to prevent this from turning into personal, anti-user sentiments.
  • Tracking – On Twitter, a person can view Favorites. Favorites are akin to LIKED items. On websites such as Google Reader and Facebook, to my knowledge, a user can’t retrieve a history or listing of what they have LIKED.

The LIKE feature is a welcome addition to the social web. In addition to sharing or commenting, LIKE is another way to indicate relationships between individuals and data. There is a lot of room for improvement with the LIKE feature into something more robust and defined. Right now, the LIKE feature has been used by many sites as a way to maintain feature parity and increase user engagement.