Matt Birchler, defending like buttons:
I think of likes on social media kind of like non-verbal responses in the real world. When I say something clever and someone around me smiles, they don't have to think of something thoughtful to say as a response, I know they liked what I said, and that makes me happy.
Totally agree. I think it's a trendy trap to fall into, to dislike the like button. Because it may seem as you're replacing real human communication with a digital thumbs up. But similar to Matt, I think a like is more of a subtle affirmation.
If someone wanted to reply in writing, but they saw a like button and decided that clicking the button was a suitable alternative, then it probably is. Otherwise they would have taken the effort to write something.