What Happens When You Click Like?

According to Facebook,

“Like” is a way to give positive feedback or to connect with things you care about on Facebook. You can like content that your friends post to give them feedback or like a Page that you want to connect with on Facebook.

Ever wonder what happens when you click the “Like” button on social media? Several things, actually, starting with a little shot of dopamine for the person who made the post. Dopamine is the chemical in the brain that provides a sense of pleasure. When we receive positive feedback from our friends and followers it lights up the reward center in our brain. That part of the reason why social media is so addictive. Sean Parker, founder of Napster and former president of Facebook, admitted as much in this video in which he explains the process as a “social validation feedback loop” that was ripe for exploitation.

For more, check out these segments from 60 Minutes.

Another thing that happens is that the platform, e.g., Facebook, get another data point that they use to build our profile. Every time we like something, we are making a statement about ourselves, and that info is used to define us for future advertisers. Do you “like” Corgis, Starbucks and brightly colored lip gloss? Okay. How about Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lawrence, and Tammy Duckworth? Check! Each time you “like” something, you give the algorithm a little more information that it can use to fine-tune your profile, making you even more valuable to advertisers.

According to research, as few as 150 “likes” on social media is better at predicting your personality than your parent, and as few as 300 “likes” allows the software to “know” you better than your own spouse.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to be known for who I am by real people…who I like…and who like me.

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