Like Me, Please: Is Facebook High School Redux?

Guest Blogger Ophelia Chong on the “Like” button in our lives

Whenever I get a missive to “Like” someone’s page, my memory goes back to high school. This was before the Internet, when the push button phone replaced the rotary, when “call waiting” meant your sister stood over you like a vulture waiting for you to get off the phone in the basement where you didn’t have to whisper.

Back then you “liked” someone by being their friend, a true show of friendship meant sitting at the same table in the school cafeteria. Now, you don’t even have to meet a person to “like” them; all it takes is a click and there you are, another “fan.” We used to judge the popularity of someone by the number of friends at their lunch table, now we judge by the number of “likes.” Is it any wonder that Facebook has taken off with the Baby Boomers? (See chart below.) We’re back in high school, with the fantasy of doing it right this time around.

Pew Research Center

“You Like It, It Likes You” – 7 UP

Once a page hits the tipping point, people will like it just because everyone else does; we are only discerning when the number is less than our waist line. There is also the familiar “you pat my back, I’ll pat yours” version on Facebook: Like my page and I will Like yours. The only danger to this is that you might end up liking a lot of pages that could brand you as someone you are not; a clown loving vegan Giraffe trainer with a taste for wild boar.

How real is that emotion of liking someone online? Not that real, we are more fickle than a tween, and our moods mercurial when it comes to something so ephemeral that in a snit we can make it disappear from our lives with the touch of a finger.

And, if Sun-tzu were alive today, he just might say this, ” Keep your friends close and your online friends closer,” and he would also ask you to Like his page.

Ophelia Chong

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