I like a lot of things. I like snowboarding, I like to have a drink with friends, I like to have a good conversation, I like lobster, I like good wine, and so on and so on. People that know me well, know what I like. The basis of friendship is liking each other and doing things together you both like or love doing. Friendship starts when you’re doing something you like doing and meet someone with the same “likes”, we call the “interests” mostly. The same counts for doing things you loathe doing as well. This of course fits in the day and night equation(if there’s nothing to loathe, there’s nothing to like). This is the basis for fraternity or sorority initiation, make a bunch of people do stuff they loathe and the start liking eachother. This is also known as teambuilding. My point? Liking or loathing is a very big part of our social life, maybe even the very base of having one.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s company picked up on this. They invented the like-button (I think, I didn’t do proper research) and revolutionized the way we show that we like things. Where social profiling took hours of painstaking conversation and awkward silences, to find out that you have nothing in common, we can now finally just say:,,Hey, I saw your Facebook page and I like you!”. Now I know there’s a lot of people that don’t agree, because on the internet “people can pretend to be someone else”. Well, I think there’s a failsafe mechanism at work on Facebook. All of my friends on Facebook are people I know in real life. Know is a big word here. I have 433 “friends” all of whom I’ve met at some particular stage in my life. Some people I never see anymore, or haven’t seen for ages. But I have known their real-world avatar. I at least know what they where liking way back when. The thing with liking is that most people don’t abruptly stop liking stuff. I stopped collecting Smurfs but I didn’t stop liking them. At least, I don’t like them as much as I did. But the simple fact is that I used to like collecting them. That says something about me. So a small portion of my personality is dedicated to liking smurfs. Another thing is that I start liking new things on a regular basis. (Question to the psychologist, is there a finite number of things you can like?)
So, along came the like-button, this has great social implications. “liking” on Facebook has become approving, or sharing an opinion. So there is a shift in what the word “like” means. Just like in the US people “love” things. When I watch American television the word Love is used more often than a right-wing politician uses the word left. Although there is a difference. In the latter example Love has devaluated. In the case of “like” it has become a social approval tool.
Facebook has redefined “liking”. Facebook made people’s interests more transparent. I like that. At least I think I do. My Facebook avatar likes it, but my real-world avatar? I’ll think about that. I’ll get back to you in a couple of weeks.
Like (third-person singular simple present likes, present participle liking, simple past and past participle liked)
1. (transitive, archaic) To please.
2. To enjoy, be pleased by; favor; be in favor of.
I like hamburgers.
I like skiing in winter.
I like the Seattle Mariners this season.
3. (obsolete) To derive pleasure of, by or with someone or something.
4. To prefer and maintain (an action) as a regular habit or activity.
I like to go to the dentist every six months.
She likes to keep herself physically fit.
We like to keep one around the office just in case.
5. To find attractive; to prefer the company of; to have mild romantic feelings for.
I really like Sandra but don’t know how to tell her.