From Symbol to Signal

We used to read a tweet and if we like it, we retweeted it. Now we often retweet without reading just to help another blogger gain more traffic or exposure for their content. We used to liked a post or favorite it to show our appreciation but now that symbol can also mean “I read it” without attaching value or appreciation. Now it can also mean “I shared it” without guarantee that it was read. The symbol gained a signaling meaning.

FB like buttons
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In LinkedIn groups where members share each others posts, they often use the “like” button below the discussion and comments to indicate to the others that they shared that post on their social media platforms. It serves  as a check mark. Done.

But did they read all the checked posts? Maybe. But a clever person can scan a post, lift a sentence, form it into a question, and respond to it. There is nothing wrong with that as long as the comment left is not spam.

The more active we are online, with the WordPress Reader, several social media accounts, and other platforms we have less time to create content and even less time to share or network.

How does that affect your sharing policy if you have one?

  • Do you still only share if you read the post?
  • Does “like” still mean that you read it and liked it?
  • Is your retweet an endorsement of the blog, the post, or the blogger?

Have you seen changes in your online behaviour? Have you started sharing, liking, and retweeting as a favour to others to help them spread the word?

I have.

I used to retweet if I endorsed the blogger, author, or Twitter user. That changed quickly. I do retweet content to help other bloggers get more exposure for their cause, blog, or books. I participate in #MondayBlogs on Twitter and retweet other indie authors and cold case bloggers.

On LinkedIn, the “like” button wasn’t there in the beginning but after it was introduced it quickly became a signal for “read it” or “shared & done.” That is a new development to me. Some groups have just started using that symbol as a signal.

On FB, a “like” is easier to come by than a “share” despite the fact that sharing is what helps another blogger gain momentum. I do not use FB a lot. My other blog has a page there that does well. My “like” on personal posts is more a signal to family and friends. I do share a lot of posts that are related to my other blog’s theme.

Have you changed your behavior on any of the above mentioned social media platforms? When did you notice that change?

7 thoughts on “From Symbol to Signal

  1. That made me think about my social media engagement. I think I read most of the articles and posts I share on Twitter–especially the news. I’ve been burned a couple of times by blinding retweeting people I trusted and I found out later that the posts were to sites that were like the Onion–embarrassing but true. So now I always read the news posts. But some of the bloggers I trust and support I tend to just scan the articles and share. If I really like something I retweet it or if it’s from an author I really enjoy I also retweet. I’m a little bit more fast and loose with the liking.

    I LOATHE Facebook…never been a member. I’m just getting back into the LinkedIn game.


  2. I still don’t understand Twitter, I wish I could understand it. I retweet because someone has made me laugh or said something which resonates with me. Any hints and tips on blogging and using Twitter greatly appreciated 🙂


    1. I see Twitter as a fluent cafe where I can walk in either direction, catch bits and pieces as i stroll by, and when I feel like it, i sit down and join the discussion. Some tweets are stand-alone comments, some try to engage you, others try to promote something.

      To make my Twitter life easier, i started to split up people I follow into lists. One list has other local Twitter people, another has people who respond frequently to what i post, another list has accounts i find interesting, and one is a collection of newspapers. When I log in, I scan my lists. Time permitting I check the main steam.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think I’ve changed much about how I like or comment on FB or Twitter since the beginning. I do read every blog first, before I push like or retweet, or comment. If I don’t have anything to add to the post in the comments, but I do like it, I’ll just push like. Same for FB. And, if I read it and don’t especially like it, I just keep going…no response. But, yes I do read them and it does take time to do this. I do understand how you’d do shares for your friends, though.

    Thanks for an interesting post…it got me thinking. This goes for the following thing too. I don’t just follow someone or friend someone just because they did to me. 🙂


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