That Four Letter Word

orange cat foot on laptop keyboard
Photo by Александар Цветановић on

I like you.  I like you, a lot.  I only like you as a friend.  The little word that has the power to lift or douse a heart.  The word that our school teachers might have underlined in essays and suggested that we come up with something more powerful, more creative.

Social media has lifted the status of this once simple, almost plain, somewhat boring word to new heights of popularity and yes – power!  Somewhere, somehow the word was chosen as the click acknowledgement, not read, not noted, not viewed but like.  

So elevated and foolishly life defining has our little like become that global platforms have moved the numeric presence of likes to a private expression available only to the owner.

When my email announces a like, sure it is a positive lift although the real hope is for a read – that the piece drew attention, held that initial interest long enough for an actual reading and finally the courtesy of acknowledgement – depress the star, push the rectangle – all clicks lead to like.

Then there are the ‘sneakers’ – those who read but do not comment and will not click. Of course they exist – the electronic version of the eyes peeping through the blinds.  As writers we must accept that in our circles there will be people that we know and share substantial ties with who want to see what we are writing.  Great stories must have led to this sneaking!

My own like policy is simple.  If I read it – I like.  As the like function is the only method to acknowledge the author and indicate a reading, I feel it is a common courtesy.  I do aim to be authentic.  I do not skim or stroll pieces and hit up the like for numeric building.

I have noted that author’s commonly respond to a comment by thanking the writer for taking the time to comment.  It reminds me that true communication is a two way street – not a lone highway.

photo of empty road in between grass field during golden hour
Photo by Josh Hild on


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