Do You Like Me Now?

On my Confessions page, I mentioned that I finally broke down and joined Facebook at the same time I started my blog.  It seemed pretty necessary for sharing my articles with friends and hoping they would share with their other friends.  Also, the whole like button was such a mystery to me, but was seemingly an important element for bloggers to have.  After all my curious investigating and weighing the different like options to incorporate on my site, I’ve decided I just don’t like the like button.  I think it’s tacky.  I’ll tell you why. First of all, what if the like button was used in actual conversation?  How offensive would that be?  After a friend or acquaintance shares about their weekend, bar fight, or actual deep thought, the popularity police decide whether they will cast their vote.  Is this what democracy has come to?  You don’t have to comment on the truth or value of what is said, just say like.  And of course there’s no dislike button, because that would be pernicious.  All I’m saying is just because it’s a positive word, doesn’t really make it a positive action. Speaking of truth, that appears to be completely irrelevant.  As we become more and more accustomed to the like culture, we begin to forget to ask important, discerning questions in our so-called conversations.  The value is in the entertaining and accomplishing while meaningfulness is cavalierly tossed out the window.  Instead of standing for truth, we are feeding into our sinful tendency to compare ourselves with others.  How many people like what I just said?  Sassy Susie gets liked up and down, but Sassy Susie maybe just talks a lot about nothing.  We begin to calculate the value of what we say by the number of likes we receive, rather than the actual content. Additionally, the more we push that like button, the more we may feed our own illusion of power.  Immediately published on Sassy Susie’s post: “Aimee likes this, along with 13 other people.”  Well, if Aimee likes it, it must be good.  I’ve just endorsed someone else’s published material.  I am actually creating my own amateur Facebook status on what is cool to like.  Really, what’s going on beneath all our playful, self-indulgent, liking banter ruse is the fact that it’s all a marketing ploy.  Is it a coincidence that I liked a fitness website and now I get ads run on my page for losing weight and breast implants?  I don’t know, maybe some exercising comments I made contributed.  But the point is, advertisers are trying to customize to our liking.  Every commercial on TV now wants us to like them on Facebook.  Their crazy computer spiders (how creepy is that?) skulk on our every cyber-move and pounce in with the customized add.  Liking a website is their free ticket to advertise their latest sell. For a while I was getting sucked in.  Many websites have a Facebook Social Plugin in their sidebar showing the number of people who like them, along with nine or so smiling, rotating profile faces of their so-called fan club.  This is beneficial for traffic, because a new viewer will see how happening your site is and want to join the inside circle.  It feeds a temptation we all have to want to be part of some elite group.  Plus, one day your profile pic will be on that rotating display.  And I can publish my own popularity as a blogger: this many people like me, you should too!  Well, I’ve decided against it.  I’ve always believed smart people don’t have to tell others they’re smart, and beautiful people don’t need to advertise.  They just are.  Exploitation is ugly, and usually used by those lacking in the very thing they are trying to sell.  Well liked people don’t need to brag about how many friends they have, and besides, it’s not always a good thing to be well liked.  So, like me or not, I’m going to say what I say.  I might not attract a bunch of followers, but I encourage the readers I do have to leave thoughtful comments, be more engaging, and even dislike in your feedback if you think I need some sharpening.  And if you really do like what I have to say, please use the share button, which I think is much more helpful. Am I saying it’s bad to just simply like things? No.  Am I saying the like button is evil and we should all boycott it?  No.  There’s no command in the Bible on like buttons.  I am challenging you to think a bit deeper on your liking motives, as well as urging you to ask yourself: can I be more engaging in this conversation?  Am I just being lazy in my relationships?  Is this statement true?  And I’m not saying that it’s wrong for websites and bloggers to promote themselves.  We need to if we want to bring people to our site.  But I do think that sometimes we sacrifice our own classiness by feeding this whole celebrity-obsessed cultural hunger.  There has to be some better ways. Meditation: 1 Thess. 2:4