The New Definition of a Facebook “Like”



Facebook has changed the meaning of words.  We all know this is true.  Think about the word “friend.”

Traditional Definition: 

Friend (noun) – a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard

Facebook Definitions:

Friend (noun) – someone with whom I am willing to share my personal ramblings, family pictures, and my results of random pop culture surveys (No, Fred, you are not, in fact Daenerys Targaryen.)

Friend (verb) – the act of logging into Facebook, finding a person with whom you want to…see noun definition above… and clicking a button inviting them to be in fellowship with you via Facebook


Facebook introduced a revised algorithm that determines what postings you see from your friends and pages that you like (do you remember that the word used to be “Fan?”).  In a nutshell, here is how the updated algorithm works:

  1. You post an update to your Facebook profile or on a page you manage
  2. Facebook distributes that posting to a small sample of your friends (or followers)
  3. Facebook waits to see if anybody comments or likes the posting.
  4. If a sufficient percentage of the sample engages (through comments or likes), then Facebook distributes it to more folks to see how they engage.  If a sufficient percentage of the subsequent sample engages, then the posting is distributed to more, and so on.
  5. If an insufficient percentage of the sample engages, then the post stops there and is distributed to no other news feeds

The true nature of the algorithm is a trade secret, so the steps above are written to the best of my understanding as of now.  More information is available in this YouTube video by 2veritasium.


Here are the implications to the definition of the word “Like.”

Traditional Definition

Like (verb) – to take pleasure in

Pre-2014 Facebook Definition

Like (verb) – to take pleasure in

Post-2014 Facebook Definition

Like (verb) – to register your vote that this posting is worthy of delivering to other people


Lurking on Facebook without engaging will result in you and others not seeing posts from people and pages you like (in the traditional definition of the word).

I manage one Facebook page for my business, one for my church, one for a business association, and my personal profile that I use for fun and to convey to others that I, indeed, am Buffy Summers.  When you manage a Facebook PAGE (not profile), then you get the privilege of seeing how many people saw each post.  Pre-2014, it was not unusual to see my daily postings reach 25% – 30% of the followers on my business page.  Today, I am lucky to reach 5% – 10% of people who like my page.

I don’t think I have become completely uninteresting overnight, as Facebook would have me believe.  I have even started the arduous task of locating royalty-free images to associate with my postings because Facebook told me that would help.  And it has.  Facebook Live videos help too, but not that much.


Okay, enough lamenting.  Here’s what you, as a Facebook user, need to do.

Look at the “Like” button as a voting button.  You are voting on the distribution-worthiness of a posting from one of your friends or pages.  If you think others should see the post, like it.  If you don’t like it, it may die.  “Like” no longer means “to take pleasure in.”  “Like” means “Hey, Facebook, other people should see this.”

Thanks, Friend.


Crazy Productive eBook Series

Are you ready to prioritize tasks, address time challenges, and master your information?

Buy the Crazy Productive series and you will receive all six books at a discounted price.

Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Like what you read?

Get new posts directly in your inbox!

You might also like these posts…

Enjoying these posts? Make sure you dont miss any!

If you enjoy my blog posts and want to make sure you never miss one - sign up for my newsletter! When you do, you'll also get instant access to my FREE webinar on interruptions in the workplace.

Interruptions can kill productivity. With one “Got a minute?” from a coworker or one stray thought swirling in your brain, the flow of your work can be completely disrupted.

The trouble is that few people have concrete strategies to get back on task quickly after an interruption. Some people completely lose focus…for hours! If you have tried reducing interruptions, but they still impact your ability to be effective at work, this free webinar is for you.