Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why I Don't 'Like' You

When I say I don't 'like' you, I'm not taking about your face or clothes, the morals you have or your outlook on life. I'm talking about Facebook. A little while ago, I stopped 'liking' things on the old Face-Place. There were a couple of reasons as to why, but the main one is how lazy it seemed to be getting. I realized no one was really taking the time to interact with others anymore and, when I looked at my feed, there were hundreds of posts with a couple of  likes and no comments on them.

This brought me to the question - where is the social part of all this networking?

People were posting, but no one was responding. A little put off, I started thinking about how everyone was living in the moment, but no one was paying attention. Here we are with instant access to one another, hundreds of posts from our nearest and dearest being created every single day, but no one is actually interested in what's being said. Or, if they are, they certainly aren't vocalizing it. Instead of commenting, people were pressing the like button and walking away - myself included.

This is when I got to thinking - did everyone actually like what they were liking?

The answer is, in my humblest opinion, no. I certainly didn't. In fact, I didn't like or hate a vast amount of the stuff I was hitting the thumbs-up for. For the most part, I straddled the line of indifference. Sure, there were one or two posts I enjoyed and connected with, but when I sat back and started taking notice of what people were posting the majority of it appeared to be nothing more than a distraction. Fluff. Unimportant noise. Nonsense.

Please don't take this as me looking down on your posts. Everyone loves a good bit of fluff now and again, but too much of it can seriously get in the way of your focus, drive and production. I mean, I'd click on a link and find myself in a YouTube vortex of music and prank videos, or on the never-ending chain of quirky blogs or reading up on what the cast of Bring It On looks like today. Things no one needs to know.

So, why was I liking all this crap? For some, I wanted to stay connected to the person posting. Like it was a way of saying 'Hey, I'm still here. I'm paying attention'. In other instances, I accidentally hit it and felt rude to remove my like. And then there were those times when I 'liked' something just for the sake of liking it. Oh, you made that lasagna from scratch, let me like it so your hard work doesn't go to waste. Strange, right?

Well, I stopped 'liking' things. Actually, I started boycotting the 'like' function altogether. There were a good couple of months where I didn't 'like' a single thing. To be honest, it was liberating. I didn't feel as if I HAD to like things anymore. I figured if I didn't have the desire to write a few words (any words) then it wasn't worth a like. And so I started commenting. Some of those comments actually started conversations. They were my opinions and, while they might not all have been profound or noteworthy, they came from me. I was taking the time to actually interact with the people Facebook considered my friends. It didn't matter that sometimes I only wrote one word like 'cute' or 'awesome' because it meant more than an arbitrary like. At least my brain it did.

Social media is a confounding place. I want people to know I am paying attention, listening, and caring. I'm not 'liking' something simply because someone I knew posted it or because I thought the picture on the article was funny. If you're on my friends list and I 'like' something you wrote or posted, then you deserve a couple words from me. At least, that's how I see it. There are all these people running around with hundreds of friends and not interacting with any of them. And that's the kicker, isn't it? We can't possibly keep up with all these people and yet we keep accepting more 'friend requests'. Baffling, right?

It's why the internet can feel so lonely at times.

In the end, what does this all mean? What does it mean if I like you? What does it mean if I don't?

Nothing. Not really. I mean, it might have been my cat walking across my keyboard. Or maybe I think you're super special and we should hold hands and skip.

Just wait for my comment.

1 comment:

Nicola Vincent-Abnett said...

Totally with you on this, and very nicely put!

Not for nothing, the like button is also a way for FaceBook et al to manipulate you and all of us.

When I simply want to 'like' something, I comment with 'I dig this' or 'digging this', and it's a trend that is catching on among some of my 'friends'. I even blogged about it: