Monday, July 04, 2011

Like.Totally. Right?

I'll admit it.

I'm a lazy Facebooker and an unabashed abuser of the "Like" button. Sometimes, I won't say a thing for several days on any post but there's not a day I've been on Facebook that I haven't "liked" several posts, links, and comments since the feature made its debut.

What can I say? I like a lotta things. I think we've clearly established that.

However, upon reading the article The Insidious Evils of 'Like' Culture by Neil Strauss today, I'm forced to reconsider my love affair with like...and not because he told me to.

I certainly don't agree that the internet, social media, and the "like" function have created a monster of conformity, turning us all into unthinking robots. Conformity, belonging, are all part of the human condition. Forming thoughts and opinions based on continuous feedback from our peers isn't new to the internet.

But what I do agree with is that the "like" function has made, at least, me lazy. I don't often say why I like a post. I let my "Like" just ride as I coast on its flimsy acknowledgment that I've read or watched whatever someone on my list thinks has merit in some capacity.

But then most of us have become lazy Facebookers. And it's getting worse. I look at my feed and it's mostly links to articles or links to videos. Articles get linked to and the OP doesn't even explain why they're posting it - why they liked it, what they found valuable about it.

Several of my friends (me included) were avid Live Journal (LJ) users back in the day before MySpace and Facebook took over our lives. Many of them now lament the graveyard LJ has become. Not long ago, a friend expressed his frustration that he didn't feel like he knew what anyone was up to anymore. That Facebook had become an impersonal warehouse of viral videos, trite quotes from Daily Affirmations R Us, and RIPs to various newly dead celebrities.

And he's mostly right. At the height of LJ's popularity, I could log in at any given time and find 2-3 pages of new entries from my friends actually talking about themselves or what was on their minds. Some people I didn't know very well I got to know fairly intimately by what they would share...what we would, sometimes, overshare. Now I log in - still every day - and there might be one or two new posts. Maybe.

I feel like we've all run out of original content. Either that or we're too busy or too lazy or too scared to share it in a meaningful way.

This quote from the article resonated with me:

So let's rise up against the tyranny of the "like" button. Share what makes you different from everyone else, not what makes you exactly the same. Write about what's important to you, not what you think everyone else wants to hear. Form your own opinions of something you're reading, rather than looking at the feedback for cues about what to think. And, unless you truly believe that microblogging is your art form, don't waste your time in pursuit of a quick fix of self-esteem and start focusing on your true passions.

We all have voices. What have you got to say?

1 comment:

Diva said...

Conformity is always the social norm. That's why most of us who don't fit in feel like outcasts. It's also why I don't understand the writer's point about "the evils of like culture."

Your points, though - that we've become lazy and only post and re-post items like videos and articles and such - those I totally get.

I also think Google has chosen the perfect moment to launch their Google+ thingie.