Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Dis-likes (an homage to Stephen Leacock)

The other day, someone clicked the like button which was attached to something I had written and now I am unsure of how best to continue. As it is not possible to click on anything which would signify that I either like or dislike the fact that someone liked what I had written, then it might be that some other action is required in accordance with the etiquette of the medium. Should I now click on the like button for something this person has written? Perhaps I should reply to to what I had written saying, "Thank you for liking this" or "I like that you liked what I wrote". I fear, though, that any further comment could result in the like button being clicked again and that I would then, and for the rest of my life,  have to spend much of my time clicking like buttons.

But what was it about what I had written that this person liked? Was it the the validity of my argument or the way that I had expressed it? Was it because of my use of semi-colons? It is also possible that it was liked because the person though my writing was so bad that it had him rolling on the floor laughing (ROFL) and, having some dread disease, knew that "laughter is the best medicine"; that being supine and exercising while doing so is far more efficacious than merely laughing out loud (LOL). I don't know (IDK). Clearly, more thought and research was required and as soon as possible (CMTARWRAASAP).

Could it be something more insidious? What if this person knew that I would be unable to proceed past this point and was just to trying to shut me up? There is much about today's social media that confuses me. In the early days of the Internet global village, everyone knew everyone else and they were not shy about expressing themselves precisely.

I realized that I would have to research the accepted function of the like button, I thought that it might have started with Facebook, but it turned out that it was started by a company whom Facebook had bought and it must have been thrown into the deal. Lacking original thought, other sites soon started using it. After Googling "likes" and "Facebook" and even "like button" I was no further ahead so I reasoned that if I Googled "like button criticisms" then I might find some pertinent information. I really should not have done that because the top result: "Why I, Like, Really Dislike Facebook's 'Like' Button" was chilling, and the second result: "Criticism of Facebook" brought other matters to my attention that I would have rather not known: dark things. The least of these was "This article has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality". How can criticism become neutral? Would the addition of a like button do it? I did, however, get some more validation for my long-time decision not to join Facebook.

Tracking methods were already familiar to me but I did not know that like buttons were so used. A couple of years ago I did a web search for "air nibbler" for a friend so that she could cut thicker sheet metal without the use of oxy-acetylene tanks, as she was using a weaker electric welder at that time. Since then I have been inundated with offers to buy air nibblers. I could fill a warehouse with them; I could become the king of air nibblers.

After seeing many discussion fora descending to the use of like buttons, I have noticed discussions have dropped off. Lively debate, cooperation in research; all the things that were the reason for the Internet being invented in the first place has coalesced into the like button. I suppose it replaces the need for originality in the use of adjectives and prevents the promiscuous use of "me too", but nothing kills discussion better because it really says nothing at all.

I realized that the only avenue open for me was to dis the like button and this has been it.

John's Coydog Community page

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