I wonder if your experience on Facebook is like mine. As I scroll through my news feed each day I find that the amount of “likes” on a given status update, link, or picture far outweigh the amount of comments. This is to be expected. In the sphere of social media there is so much information that our brains are trying to filter through that it’s easier to encourage someone with your appreciation by clicking a button than by crafting a sentence or two.
In thinking about my own tendency to “like” rather than comment, I am concerned that I have grown lazy in my encouragement of other people. Perhaps you have as well. If so, here are a few reasons why I think commenting to encourage should characterize our presence on Facebook more than “liking” to encourage:
- Clicking “like” does not allow you to tell a person why you like what they have posted. The Bible makes it clear that we are to use our words to build up each other (Ephesians 4:29). It would be wrong to conclude that “liking” something cannot encourage another person, but how much more encouragement can be given with an explanation of why a post caught your eye?
- Commenting allows you to point a person away from pride at the number of “likes” he has scored and, instead, focus his attention on “the things that are above, where Christ is” (Colossians 3:1). If you’re like me, you see the number of “likes” you’ve drawn and your walk begins to look more like a swagger because “likes” leave a lot of room for your sinful heart to come up with its own interpretation as to why people appreciated your post. “Likes” make it easier to attribute the applause to yourself instead of God. A comment can go a long way in helping a person like me remember that my life is to be centered around God instead of self.
- Commenting does more to cultivate a relationship with someone than clicking “like”. Commenting opens the door for an interchange between you and the person you are seeking to encourage. I think we are more likely to read the comments specific people leave than look to see which specific people clicked “like”. This puts a name and a face with the encouraging comment and creates the likelihood that you will seek to reciprocate the encouragement in the future, thus building a realtionship.
- The mere act of commenting to encourage as opposed to clicking “like” communicates a greater degree of care. Like writing a letter instead of sending an email, taking the time to write a comment says more to a person than “liking” their post.