Do we “like” things too much?
This question is frequently posed by social scientists studying the changing patterns in human interaction. Many studies point to the increasing use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram as having a negative effect on interpersonal communication skills and the development of face-to-face relationships.
But while that’s all true, consider this.
Without social media, we would be forced to commit important dates like birthdays and anniversaries to memory. Now, we can trust Facebook to remind us when something significant is happening, freeing our brain for pointless information like all the lyrics to the latest overplayed hit or some obscure information from Wikipedia.
Without social media, we would be cut off from the filters that allow us to bear having our pictures taken. Snapchat alone offers a variety of filters that allow us to take selfies without the inconvenience of actually owning cat ears, dog tongues, flower crowns, or studio lighting and photo editing equipment.
Without social media, we would lose the ability to post and share food selfies, forcing us to actually make an effort to remember what we ate yesterday.
And most importantly, without social media we wouldn’t have the power to “like” things. Nowhere else in our lives do we have such complete freedom to acknowledge the existence of something with so little commitment.
Imagine how exhausting it would be to have to actually go to every business, tourist site, or organization you’ve ever heard about just to give them a big thumbs up.
Thanks to Facebook, we no longer have to drive to our friend’s place at 2 a.m. to sympathize when we are also unable to sleep. We no longer have to actually contact friends and relatives to tell them we saw their video of their toddler’s first steps or their opinionated post about the president.
“Likes” are a more efficient and less meaningful way to document our recognition of the people, places, and events happening around us. We can slap a cyber-stamp of approval on anything we want, satisfied that if anyone cared what we thought, they wouldn’t have to ask us to find out.
And you know what? We apparently “like” that.