A few months ago I wrote about my lack of satisfaction with Facebook. I felt that people weren’t communicating enough and that we were becoming a more passive society. So I took a two week hiatus to figure all of this out. I knew that social media was becoming lonely but I couldn’t narrow it down to why.
When I returned I had some insight. I declared that I wasn’t going to “like” anything from then on. I thought maybe social media was becoming lonely because we stopped having meaningful communication with one another. “Liking”, “favoriting”, “starring”, all remove meaning from how we talk. Actually, we don’t really talk anymore, we just “like”.
This isn’t to say that people don’t comment on my posts, it’s just annoying to get 20 or 30 likes but words. It’s easy in our society to just throw support out there. Clicking a button to “like” is incredibly easy and there isn’t a commitment. You can show support for a picture someone posted without having to write anything down.
That’s where the flaw is: by clicking the “like” button, we avoid actually interacting with one another. Every time I logged on Facebook, I would have a few notifications. After I clicked the status bar, it would show me that all of them were “likes”. There’s no way to respond to “likes”, there’s no conversation.
Maybe it’s only me, after all, I did move away from my friends, but I can’t help but feel like social media is supposed to be more about conversations. It’s about tossing an idea out there, like how a person is feeling or what’s going on, and then chiming in with friends about it. I don’t really care if my friends support me with “likes”, I just want to communicate in a different way.
So it’s been two months since I’ve “liked” anything on Facebook and I really do feel like I’ve solved part of the problem. When I find a status that I normally would have “liked”, I choose to comment on it. This helps start conversations and interaction. “Liking” doesn’t lead anywhere. It’s impossible to comment on everything that I was liking before, so if I don’t feel like commenting, I don’t feel the need to click “like” either. My contact with people is more meaningful because I don’t continuously click “like”.
While maybe this doesn’t mean anything to you, I want to issue you a challenge. It’s simple but it will take a little while to get used to. I challenge you to stop “liking” anything on Facebook for one week. Seven days isn’t a long commitment but it teaches you enough. Usually the first two days are difficult because it’s so simple to click “like” that you don’t even think about it. After that, it’s easy.
Instead I encourage you to comment to replace “liking”. It doesn’t have to be long or anything but just try it for one week. You’ll find that you start more conversations and have a better time on Facebook. After you complete this challenge, send me a message or write on my wall on Facebook, I’m curious to hear your thoughts!
Happy social media-ing and I wish you the best!
P.S. What’s with “liking” comments mid-conversation? I get it if you say something really funny or profound but why? I don’t understand… 0-0