Is Liking Something On the Internet a Meaningless Gesture?

It occurred to me just now that one thing that FaceBook and Google+ do that Twitter doesn’t is have a mechanism to show passive approval of something. On FaceBook you can “Like” a post and on Google+ you can “+1” it, Twitter has no equivalent. On Twitter you can either comment on a post by replying to it, or you can share it by retweeting.

I think the like is an empty gesture, it holds no meaning, and it serves only to boost the ego of the poster, also it’s prone to ambiguity, if someone posts a status update saying something like “My dog died today, he was a lovely hound” and someone likes that what does that mean? does it mean that you like the fact that the dog died or that you are being sympathetic to the person for their loss?

If you are being sympathetic and all you can be arsed doing is clicking a button then you are a pretty lazy, a person who was actually sympathetic would say something passing on their condolences, if you like the fact that their dog died because the dog ate your hat well maybe you shouldn’t be sharing that fact.

What do people think is liking a status update an empty gesture?

Note: I’m not talking about liking things on services like Pinterest, StumbleUpon or Last.FM where your likes are actually stored, that’s more curating things you like rather than silently expressing that you agree with/approve of a statement.