The Authenticity of ‘Like’

Last night I got a Facebook notification inviting me to like a business page. The invitation came from someone who I don’t know personally, but is a friend-of-a-friend, with mutual interests in rubber stamping. I like having friends with mutual interests; so I took a look at the invitation. It was for a crossfit gym in a town in New York state, about 4 1/2 hours away from where I live. I wondered why I would get an invitation to like this business? I thought it might be a mistake. So I sent a note to the person who invited me to ‘like’ it.

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And it brings to light something that I feel pretty passionate about. ‘Like’ and if Facebook would actually create it, ‘Dislike’ buttons.

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I see the ‘Like’ button kind of like that type of surreptitiously passed, folded and unfolded, old class note. If you were willing to commit to check the ‘Yes’ box on that note, you better be prepared for it to be shown to everybody in class, and all over school. The ‘Like’ button is a commitment. It is publicly checking that ‘Yes’ box.

To ‘Like’ a status, at a minimum you are acknowledging that you read the content; and you agree that it is good/great/awful (once again, in absence of ‘Dislike’). You may or may not have time to comment. You may not have anything additional to share that would add to the discussion. But you agree with the writer’s feelings about the status. There is community in that. There is authenticity to that.

To like a business or page on Facebook is in general another thing entirely. It implies that you personally like the product(s) or service(s) that the page is promoting. To me it is no different from a recommendation on Yelp or a Star Rating and review on Amazon. I naively want these reviews to be authentic. I want to know that someone has personal experience, not tied to any monetary gain, in writing their review. I want to find that review helpful. In essence, I want to ‘Like’ that review.

Like should be authentic.

So this is one woman’s plea for you to not send out blind invitations to everyone on your friend’s list when you ‘Like’ a page on Facebook. It isn’t as rude as brute force adding me to a group, but it makes just about as much sense and has just about as much negative impact.

I would like for ‘Like’ to have as much positive impact as Sally Field’s Oscar acceptance: brimming with joy, resonating with authenticity.

via GIPHY

Is that too much to ask? Do you ‘Like’ this post?

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