Disliking The Like

I hate “Like” buttons, I really, really do.  There is something about the entire removal of actually having an opinion on something that just makes me want to gouge out people’s eyes with my thumb.  It is next to meaningless having someone “Like” a post as they don’t even really have to have read it, just muscled up enough motor control to guide the pointer and click the left button on the mouse.  It removes any possibility of dialogue and I think really that more than anything else is what is causing the destruction of culture.  People don’t know how to talk anymore, to discuss, to be able to fully articulate their own opinion on something rather than using other people’s words.  It extends further than just the “Like” phenomenon.  Really, what is the point of describing something to someone else, including all the personal bits that come along with said description when you can so easily link to what you want to show them.  I have recently been involved in several conversations where I was describing a movie to someone and I could see their eyes glazing over as I went into the details and by the time I was finished their only response was something along the lines of “yeah, I’ll have to check that out”.  Now I know not everyone is going to like discussing movies/books/music as much as I do but this response is becoming the norm, even among people I know are interested in these things.  You can make your point by posting the pictures, or linking to YouTube or quickly looking up what you want to say in a variety of media right from your phone so why bother trying to articulate it yourself?  If you can say how you feel with an emoticon, why actually talk about it?  Talking is hard, writing is hard and both require thought and it seems more and more our culture of mass media isn’t about thought, at least not original, unique to you thought.  Everywhere I look all I see are posts with links to other stuff that say what the poster is thinking or feeling and its a rare thing that I find even one full sentence in Facebook.  It makes me sad to think that with the potential for communication that is available to us now that wasn’t available even ten years ago we aren’t really communicating, we are “Liking”.  It doesn’t even express a strong opinion, just something middle of the road.  What am I, as a writer supposed to take away from the fact that along with one of my posts someone liked a cute picture of a kitten doing something absurdly adorable and a video on YouTube of a guy stapling his nut sack to his thigh?  Maybe I expect too much, but I know if I do stumble across something that I find interesting or worth reading/watching/listening too that I feel like its worth it to express how whatever it is made me feel or think, if it worked, or fell flat or made me angry or sad or happy.  I guess I feel like it is part of the partnership of culture that even those not producing participate in a living dialogue, to commit themselves to a view and being able to express that view in something more elaborate than a link to a video that is kind of like what they would have said.  Anyway, that is my rant for the day.  It probably will make no difference in the long run and may irritate enough people that I will never get even  a “Like” again on this blog, but it was on my mind so it needed to come out.  Maybe, just maybe someone will read this and the next time they like something they will think about why they liked it and put it out there to the world in their own words, or even, if they are brave, why they disliked it.  Who knows, maybe that dialogue can make a comeback.


4 Responses to “Disliking The Like”

  1. emisformaker Says:

    And that is why I’m removing myself from the poison that is Facebook by deleting my account. I’ve fallen victim to the culture of liking, and I’m cutting myself off cold turkey. You should hear the cries of protest; it’s like I’ve said I’m going to fall off the face of the earth next Tuesday. Madness!

    • The thing is though that while you will be removing yourself from the culture of liking you will also be removing yourself from contact with a great many people whom you otherwise may not get to speak to, including myself. I find most of our communication is either through here or Facebook and for that it is a good thing. You should always do what you feel best of course, but I would still like to see you on there, if for no other reason than just to stay in touch.

  2. blackwatertown Says:

    Perhaps the provision of an alternative “hate” button would help – to highlight and bookmark without implying approval?

    • It is more than that though. I guess my biggest issue with it is that it negates the need to really form an opinion on anything. All clicking a button indicates is at most a mild impression, it in no way indicates whether the material being liked or disliked was even fully comprehended by the liker or dis-liker. I just think it is part of a growing trend of a kind of mental laziness in society. I find that in 8 out of every ten conversations that I have about some form of culture or philosophy the person I am talking with can’t really define why it is they are for or against the artist/movie/political movement etc. They know they like or dislike it but can’t discuss it any further than that. I don’t expect everyone to have an opinion on everything, but I have literally been in a discussion with someone and they absolutely loved and were raving about a movie they had seen and when I asked them “yeah, really, what did you really like about it?” they couldn’t really form more of a response than “it was just really good, y’know”. So it is more than just the “like” button I am against, it is this kind of “like” movement in our culture.

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