NPR's On The Media

“That Little Thing Called ‘Like'”- On The Media Response

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

3 comments

  1. Hi Christina!
    I liked your thoughts on what NPR thinks our motives behind “likes” are. I also found the idea of self-promotion on Facebook interesting. From a psychologist standpoint, it makes sense to denounce our “likes” as an attempted display of who we wish to be.

    In the article “Generation Why?” Zadie Smith discussed the idea of reducing ourselves on Facebook. We not only reduce ourselves to limit public knowledge of our partying ways or incredibly liberal political views, but we carefully craft what we do include to display who we want our 600 friends to think we are. This, in turn, also limits us. We slave over choosing the perfect profile picture as well as quotes for our profile. We not only limit ourselves to appear a certain way, but we also reduce ourselves by adding superficial interests and quotes with an ulterior motive, for example to impress or to appear more intelligent. Another way of reducing ourselves is by liking other people’s posts or liking certain pages on Facebook. NPR discussed the idea of each “like” having an ulterior motive and how even though such large amounts of people use this social networking site, so many people are unaware of the inner workings of Facebook. Not many are well versed in the fact that material added to our pages can stay on the Internet and be accessed by outside companies. I, too, have been guilty of overusing the “like” button or using it for a reason other than simply liking what has been posted.

    -Mia Alicata

  2. I completely agree. After listening I was sort of embarrassed by how many things i “like” even though I really don’t have any sort of connection to either the person or the message at hand. I think a lot of the reason I even do it is because I want to feel apart of something and “in the know”. I think that people have such a need to feel connection with others that our free ability to “like” or comment allows us to connect with others who we normally have no contact or communication with otherwise. Either way, it was a pretty get NPR show.

  3. many of the podcast’s topics this week have been in regards to Facebook and its role in the media. Society as a whole has become obsessed with this cyber reality in which they can control the way in which other preseive them, creating a false identity portraying themselves however they want. in my opinion the facebook “craze” has gone a little too far. Keeping in mind that this started as a place for incoming freshman to meet students at the schools they are interested in attending. i think that somewhere along the line, facebook is able to track your location and each time you comment or post it displays the location in which you are sending it from. everytime the like button is pressed there are advertisements generated based on the things you post, and the things you like. according to NPR each “like has an alternative motive” and not everyone knows this. it is in my opinion that our generation needs to shift from facebook to reality and begin meeting people in real life and having actual interpersonal communication amongst eachother. if you like something in real life , great , go out and actually do it rather than pressing a button so that you can be targeted for advertisements. the way we depict ourselves according to the pre set ideals inbedded in the outline of facebook is so limited and cannot acurately depict a person’s interests or personality. in most cases it cant even acurately depict ones image. i think that we, as a society are entirely too caught up with the idea of our image and how others view us that we are being inhibited from actually living our everyday life according to our own minds and ideas, rather than those of Mark Zuckerberg.

    -sara nisbeth

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