‘Like’ it or not

Was there a ‘like’ button before Facebook? I don’t think there was. But anyway, I was only introduced to it with Facebook.

I use the ‘like’ button. I use it a LOT.

It certainly has its merits. It saves a bunch of time, allowing you – with minimal effort – to let people know you appreciate what they have shared, wherever in the world they might be. In one second flat. It is indeed a very likable little button that does so much in such a short period of time.

But I was contemplating the other day about life before the ‘like’ button – what did we do before it was an option? 

We took the time to let people know – in our very own personalised words – that we appreciated what they had said, done or shared.

Often we went a step further and told them exactly what it was we liked about it – what emotions it stirred in us, if it initiated a call to action from us, if looking at something from another perspective helped us etc. We took the time to think about it and then expressed those thoughts.

I find that I do that less often these days. When I appreciate something I simply ‘hit’ the ‘like’ button. Recently I have started making a conscious effort to also leave a comment when I do this and I am unhappy to report that more often than I’d like to admit, I am at a loss for words!

Has the ‘like’ button made my mind duller and more robotic?

It is, after all, so easy to just click that button and move on to the next thing without asking yourself what about it you appreciated. Without ‘wasting’ any of your precious time writing a few words to someone. Or worse still, without wasting your time thinking!

I don’t know about you, but I think I would prefer a comment, someone’s actual thoughts, to a ‘like’.

Because, I ask myself, if there was no ‘like’ button and someone truly appreciated something, wouldn’t they stop to let me know? Or maybe I’m outdated. Maybe commenting is now only reserved for when we absolutely love something, like it was one of the best things in the world we have come across. But hey, perhaps we could save time there too by creating an ‘absolutely loved this’ button.

Similarly, if there was no ‘like’ button and you ‘sorta, kinda’ liked something, would you spend (sorry, I mean waste) time typing out a message? If not, did you truly like it in the first place? Or are you sometimes being a bit dishonest when you click that much loved little icon?

Another question that crossed my mind was – what does a ‘like’ on Facebook or YouTube or WordPress REALLY communicate?

According to the dictionary that is sitting next to me, the word (in this context) means to “find agreeable or satisfactory”. According to Facebook, the answer to what it means to ‘like’ a post is that it is “an easy way to let someone know that you enjoy it, without leaving a comment.” Now, when it comes to the definition of words, I always believe the dictionary. But in this case, let’s include Facebook’s definition too.

I find it particularly disturbing when someone ‘likes’ something they couldn’t possibly find agreeable or satisfactory or enjoyable. (But who knows, perhaps they are just really mean and horrible people) For example, I recently came across a post on Facebook where someone had expressed how much he was grieving the recent loss of a loved one. And some seventy people had ‘liked’ the post. How can this be? Even in such situations how lazy or insensitive or robotic have we become that we are not able to take the time to tell a person that we feel for him or we’re there for him or we’ve been through something similar and empathise or offer some words of comfort?

“I feel something about this, so I will ‘like’ it” is what I imagine is now our subconscious, habitual way of thinking.

What have we allowed ourselves to become!

They say practice makes perfect and I’m asking myself if the practice of continuously choosing the ‘like’ button over commenting is inhibiting my ability to express myself accurately? Is the habit of hitting the ‘like’ button and swiftly moving on to the next thing fueling my inability to focus on the topic at hand? Is it making my mind perfectly lazy?

So how many times a day do you click that ‘like’ button? And do you find yourself liking a lot more things simply because liking something has been made so easy for us?

Yes, I know, I have probably dug my own grave here. If you do actually like what I’ve said in this post, you’re probably not going to hit that button now, are you?

I promise I won’t be offended if you do.

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