Monday, August 12, 2013

A Like As Positive Reinforcement

The Like Button image
A new study has found that if an article or post if Liked on a site like Facebook or Reddit, new readers are more likely to approve of it. This is from a study published Science journal that says that Likes create a "herding" effect in that it makes other readers more likely to react the same way.

This seems like a pretty obvious conclusion, but sometimes the obvious needs real data behind it for verification, which is what this study did. Another thing that the study revealed is that negative views don't seem to have the same impact on readers, meaning that people aren't more likely to follow that trend if it's presented.

On an unnamed news aggregation site, the researchers manipulated the ratings of over 100,000 comments on the site. They found that the ones that got the positive boosts received an average of 25 percent higher ratings as a result.

The conclusion they drew was that Likes perform a sort of positive reinforcement for readers. If someone else Likes something, then it's safe for them to Like it as well. If there are few Likes, then there's less comfort in doing so.

That said, other studies have found that Likes are a function of the number of followers or readers that you might have, where a level of 1% is a good result. In other words, if you have 1,000 followers, you can expect as many as 10 Likes on certain posts, and far less on most others.

It just goes to show that you shouldn't overvalue those Likes.

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