Learning with Like Buttons: A Review of Research on the Most-Used and Least-Studied Social Media Feature
Thursday, March 21 10:15-10:45 AM Location: Sunset 4
Abstract: Clicking a Like Button or similar feature is the dominant form of participation in social media. Yet, this gesture has been relatively little studied compared to other social media activities, such as posting, commenting, friending or following. The dearth of research on Like Button activity is especially pronounced in educational contexts. This paper takes a step towards filling the Like Button research lacuna by reviewing the state of research on Like Buttons, in educational contexts and beyond. This review analyzes 36 studies published in peer-reviewed journals, and also surveys conference presentations by researchers working for Facebook, the company that invented the Like Button and has access to the best data to study it. Some early studies by Facebook prompted public outrage when the social media giant was perceived to be attempting to manipulate user’s emotions for research purposes. Ethical issues around Like Button studies are discussed, with consideration to how educational scholars might want to wade more deeply into researching this important aspect of social media culture.