I’ve long been frustrated at what happens on Facebook, if that’s the way to say it. One of my friends starts using a birthday calendar app, and I get invited to use it too (often also from all of our mutual friends). Facebook changes their layout and everyone complains. A friend decides to invite everyone he knows to his Amway event, and I get a bunch of emails telling me who is going. A friend “likes” some hateful political screed. You know the drill.
It’s that last one that got me thinking. I confronted the person who “liked” the screed onto my wall, and got a bullshit response, that it “took balls” for someone to say what they said.
Problem is, it didn’t. And it doesn’t take any balls to “like” it.
It takes no effort at all to “like” something. It takes an impulsive microsecond to click your mouse, and you’ve told everyone who pays attention that you are endorsing something.
It’s as though we have all become Brick, from Anchorman, loving lamp simply because we sees it.
If you were in a room with your friends, maybe you’d tell someone you like a particular TV show, or a band. Maybe you’d even tell people you like your bank, or a particular political candidate. You would not stand up, and apropos of nothing, simply declare that you like “Chase Bank” to the room, you would endorse your thing in context, with personal flavor, and only if it mattered to you.
On Facebook, there is no context. There is only, “Dave liked…,” “Joe liked…,” “Jim and Allan liked…”
The context is all important, because I don’t care about most of what you “like” enough to click and forget. I do care about the things that you take the time to share - a link with a bit of text about why you care (i.e., context). Most of Facebook, however, is context free. Most of it is viral bullshit - likes upon likes upon likes; things you would never endorse in person, but didn’t see the harm in clicking and forgetting.
It’s the din of your public, unfiltered, instantaneous reactions to the stimulus that hits you on a minute-by-minute basis.
I don’t want to know you that way. I suspect that you don’t want to know me that way.
In real life, we carefully manage the perception others have of us, but not on Facebook. Perhaps that makes us more real online. More authentic. But, in truth, Facebook simply proves that familiarity actually does breed contempt.
I want to like you. Think about that the next time you “like” something.
P.s.: This was probably posted to Facebook automatically, but I won’t see any of your comments. Hit me on Twitter (@lofdev) if you have thoughts.