I'm guilty of it. Are you guilty of it? And it's not that I always feel bad about it. In fact, there's some degree of savvy that goes into it. Of course, I'm talking about Strategic Liking.
We all know Facebook's EdgeRank (or whatever they're not calling it these days) goes deep. It's more than suddenly showing you posts of a friend after you've visited their page, or showing you less of an organization if you never interact with them. Facebook will also show you content--photos, for example--from a friend you don't talk with often, but who recently posted photos, in order to encourage you to feel comfortable posting more photos. [fact check? rumor?]
Knowing that this kind of thing just scratches the surface makes me very cautious, and canny, while on the social network. For example, I might like a post from a local nonprofit, not just to give them the extra boost in attention, but also to tell Facebook "Yes, this is a page I want to be seeing."
Likewise, I might enjoy a post from a company, but not give the "like" endorsement, so I won't be deluged with similar commercial content.
As users become more sophisticated in gaming the system, it makes analytics more complicated. Are the consistent likes of a post due to genuine enjoyment, or a reflection that the poster has a large family network who knows to hit thumbs up regardless of the content?
Are people reluctant to give a post their approval, if they know others will see their endorsement, or know they are a fan of something? Do we behave differently when we think our casual social media surfing will change out future feed?
Just more things to navigate and consider in the changing world of social networking.