Social Media Like Button

By Xah Lee. Date: .

i've been stingy in clicking friend's Facebook Like button.

my thinking in past 10 years since such button began is that i shall never click on it, because, it simply give the mega corps data. I view it as psychological exploitation by these corps. That the users are just minions for them to manipulate.

though, for some reason, in last year or so, such thought haven't surfaced in my mind, probably because the Facebook “like” or or Google “plus” or or Twitter “favorite” et al buttons have become so ubiquitous, that everyone is using them without a thought. Also, when my post got “liked”, somehow i enjoyed it, as opposed to trying to bitch a lecture about why one shouldn't click the like button. (which i tend to do, and from experience of past years, it was rather not rewarding)

but still, even though i've used to the like button, i have been quite stingy to click them. This is because, i have rather a cynical world-view. For me to click a “like”, it means i must truely approve whatever is the post's content and the posting behavior. For example, if it's a random cat picture, i don't click “like” even if i enjoyed the pic, because i don't believe in a society of posting crass bullshit and i despise the so-called internet “memes”. If it's pop youtube video, i really enjoyed, i won't “like” it because i don't approve the social behavior of spreading stupid lady gaga or such. I'm decidedly anti-popularism. If it's some daring-do video of say the recent jumping from space, i don't “like” because i don't encourage thoughtlessly following whatever is cool, unless the poster sharing it is say a historian, expert of flying, or such specialist that this video is relevant to his work or expertise. If it's political post, or link, to some science article, i don't “like” unless i carefully read the article and that i approve it or find it interesting.

but all these attitude is rather silly. In this week, i realized how “stingy” i am with regard to this. Because, on social networks, the fun part is for people to connect and interact with each other. It's not grading academic publications or stamping approval of social policies. Actually, the fact that got me to think about this is because i was craving for my posts to be liked or shared on social networks. And i thought, if i haven't been giving people “likes”, why'd they notice me?

so, i started to click “like” more, whenever i saw something i — well — liked, without regarding it as “Xah Approved” stamp. LOL.

But in the end, indeed, it's selfishness that prompted me to like others. Yeah, my behavior changed a bit because i wanted others to like me. And, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Tumblr, … are laughing all the way. Human animal nature…

But i think the ideal behavior is still never to click any of those like button. You me or me you. If 2 persons are to establish meaningful friendship, then do reply with written approval, appreciation, or voice chat, video chat. You'll spend more time, but it'd be real communication. Use the social network as a tool for real friendship, not letting it making us into mindless slaves of the “like” button. Ah… how the social fucking networks make us all mindless slaves… adding “friends”, “likes”, share love'n'caring quotes, yet most won't or can't give a flying fuck about Facebook friends for real. Modern society…