Engagement Buttons


Published on September 18th, 2013

“Like.” Not only is it an indelible component of casual sentence structure, the term also governs how we respond to everything from news articles to comments from our closest friends on Facebook. This finding is part of a report released today that gives news organizations recommendations for engaging online audiences in new ways.

A heartwarming story about a local hero? “Like!” But “Like” doesn’t always seem appropriate. A fair, but counter-attitudinal, post in a comment section? It’s challenging to press “Like.” What if news stations used other buttons? What if, instead of “Like,” one could click “Respect”?

These word choices are consequential. And, the “Respect” button has both business and democratic implications. From a business angle, respondents seeing a “Respect” button clicked on more comments in a comment section. From a democratic angle, respondents seeing a “Respect” button clicked on more comments from another political perspective in comparison to the “Recommend” or “Like” buttons.

Academic Presentations

Stroud, N. J., Muddiman, A., & Scacco, J. (2013, November). Framing comments in social media. Paper to be presented at the National Communication Association, Political Communication Division, Washington DC.


Ashley Muddiman

Faculty Research Associate

Josh Scacco headshot
Joshua Scacco

Faculty Research Associate