Online 'Likes': Just People Copycatting Each Other
Comments given a fake 'like' influenced future voters: study
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2013 6:09 PM CDT
Is "liking" really a form of social herding?   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – What's in a "like"? Well, a good deal of influence over how other people will perceive something, the New York Times reports. A study that manipulated positive and negative reactions to website comments found that one "like" prompted people to follow suit, while negative votes had no effect. In fact, readers of a comment with one fake "like" were 32% more likely to like it, and those comments scored 25% higher than others overall.

"That is a significant change," says MIT professor Sinal Aral, one of the researchers. "We saw how these very small signals of social influence snowballed into behaviors like herding." The study calls into question the value of ratings on websites like Amazon and Yelp, the Times notes, and could help marketers make their products more popular. "Hype can work," says Aral, "and feed on itself as well."

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Aug 14, 2013 8:37 PM CDT
Agree, its about glad handing, back slapping, and two-faced reactions to posts. Seen it at the annual Baptist Convention meetings national and state. At the SBC or GCB's, you have a bunch of posturing pastors who "like" everything that is conceived by moronic leadership in the name of God. Take the Boy Scout edict. That was as stupid as it gets. Then at the Oklahoma Baptist General Convention annual Klan rally, you get much the same thing but then you have Oklahoma pastor drones or autonotones droning around slapping each other on the back for having 3 baptisms in a year. Or you have mega churches who sent 10 people to Mogadishu and saved 300,000 people simply by standing over the city and declaring them "SAVED!!!!!". Then they return to Oklahoma and show slides on Sunday night showing the crowds of people, usually in Malawi, and how they were saved.
Aug 10, 2013 9:17 PM CDT
Back in the day NEWSER also had a Dislike button..... It was better than the current system.....
Aug 10, 2013 8:00 AM CDT
This is the sort of thinking that caused me to vote for HILARIOUS on the article where the baby fell in a well and was eaten by a crocodile