I am annoyed with the Facebook like button.
A few days ago my partner and I launched an ambitious Kickstarter program to create a ballet tour with international artists. It represents a goal we have had for nearly a decade so it is a big deal for us. But I am not writing today to ask for your support. (Not that I would turn it down.)
I am writing to complain about Facebook liking.
Facebook liking is not the same as doing something,
I am struggling to put my particular pet peeve into words without seeming ungrateful for the digital pats on the back we have received in the form of like clicks. There is a time and place for “liking.” “Like” seems an appropriate response to a post like: “Enjoying the sun today.”
“Like” in this case means, “I don’t have anything to add to that, but I hear you.” “You are not shouting into the void.” (The electronic equivalent of saying “Uh-huh.”)
Imagine, however, a conversation in real life that goes like this:
“I am selling candy bars to raise money for a class trip.”
“I like that.”
“Great…. Um… So, do you want to buy a candy bar?”
“I like candy bars.”
“So you want one?”
“I like that you’re doing this.”
“Yeah. Um. Thanks.”
When you are requesting action and people click like, but do not act, it is, in a word, frustrating.
I have to confess that I am quite often a lazy liker. It is much easier to click a button to signal approval of a friend’s life milestone than to find something to say. I click, I guess, because I think I will get friendship points for responding in some way.
Maybe I should try to put my money where my mouth is and stop “liking” things when I have nothing to contribute.