Who knew thumbs up weren’t just for hitchhikers. Listening to this week’s “On the Media,” I found it mindboggling that brands use our “Like’s” to promote themselves. I never realized that once you click that button, advertisers are able to flood your news feed with brand information. As Jason Kincaid states, clicking the “Like” button is basically saying, “Hey, send me stuff.”
Typically, I find myself “liking” statuses and photos of friends on Facebook rather than brands, but now that I think about it, why do I click a button to tell this person I “Like” something? According to psychologists, we “Like” because of self-presentation. In this way, we can project ourselves as we would like to be understood. “Liking” certain things and not others is a way for people to filter themselves in the way they wish to be seen. I find this to be very much in correlation with every other aspect of Facebook. On Facebook, you create a virtual persona that allows you to present yourself in a way you wish others to see you, a persona that could be completely different than who you are in reality.
I admit I am as guilty as the next Facebook user when it comes to the “Like” button. But, with further reflection, is it just another way to lessen the amount of work we have to do to communicate? We don’t even have to take the time to type and the receiver of the “Like” knows what we mean. Forget picking up the phone to talk to a friend, forget even commenting on a friend’s photo—click a button. It’s easier, isn’t it?
-Christina Di Grandi