Please Like This Paper

Philosophy (forthcoming)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
In this paper I offer a philosophical analysis of the act of ‘liking’ a post on social media. First, I consider what it means to ‘like’ something. I argue that ‘liking’ is best understood as a phatic gesture; it signals uptake and anoints the poster’s positive face. Next, I consider how best to theorise the power that comes with amassing many ‘likes’. I suggest that ‘like’ tallies alongside posts institute and record a form of digital social capital. Finally, I consider whether ‘likes’ have ultimately improved online discourse. I argue that while the ‘liking’ function itself is relatively innocuous, public ‘like’ tallies introduce a corrosive motivation to online communication. By making the prospect of increased social capital perpetually salient to us, they encourage us to prioritise high levels of engagement over meaningful engagement.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2021-05-14
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
362 ( #18,626 of 64,187 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
172 ( #3,009 of 64,187 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.