Underestimating the “like” button

I bet she has the confidence to whip her hair back and forth…AND “like” a boy in person!

Recently you all posted “likes” and comments on the “Note from a Former Self” article here on Diary of a Quirky Girl. Your comments got me to thinking about who else I’ve been missing out on from my past. Who had I been wondering about and what they were up to. What were they doing now?

It seems that along with technology, we live in the age of trying to go as fast as we can to get to that next moment in life. In the process we try to keep up with others but do not have enough time to post a comment. In the past, I will be honest, it used to be annoying someone could “like” something but not comment. A recent business trip to Chicago enlightened me.

While in Chicago I was in route to places at several different times and couldn’t always get great reception. When I did, I had enough time and a short window to click the like button on a friend’s page, picture or comment, just enough to let them know I was thinking about them and wanted to see how they were doing. It seems the like button is a quick way to cheer someone’s day until you can get to a place where you can leave a lengthy comment.

In my plight to catch up with friends and like things on their page, a few names popped up I hadn’t seen in a long time. Some were childhood friends from the neighborhood and one was even a crush I had in grade-school.

I was talking to my parents about memories of note passing, and how that seems to have morphed into the like button. I was explaining to my Dad about who I had recently seen on the front page of my Facebook. He was trying to remember who this person was, which is when I went into a long explanation of who they were and what they meant to me when I was younger.

Here is the story I relived for him.

My parents and I were at our local grocery store, it was 1988 and the 4th grade school year had just started. I was riding on the back of the cart while they pushed me through the aisles. We were just rounding the cereal aisle when I saw this particular boy, his sister and his mom, riding and walking with their shopping cart. Obviously good genes run in their family, they were all as cute as buttons.

When I was younger I had a hard time looking a crush in the eye. However in my head as a 8 year old girl about to turn 9, this scenario played out differently. In my imagination, my parents had been running their cart down the aisle with the tires smoking and leaving trails of fire with me on the back; as if we were in a motorcross competition to see who could get their groceries fastest. I was dressed like Willow Smith in a jump-suit of bright colors, wearing a huge smile with an un-shy personality exuding fun and sunshine. In my pea brained 8 year old imagination, I got down off my cart with finesse, looked the boy and his family in the eye, waving a large wave saying, “HELLLOOOOO!” Then I broke out into a break dance, with his family, the entire grocery store, and my family gathering around me in the cereal aisle starting out with a slow clap and finally breaking into a standing ovation.

This is what the grocery store looked like in my mind.

Sadly this isn’t what happened.

What really happened is I stepped off the cart dressed in my hot pink beach bum shirt and cut off jeans. My hair was thrown back in a pony tail because I had been out all day playing and probably looked like I had just wrestled a bear…a care bear. I didn’t want this particular boy to think I wasn’t mature or so silly I couldn’t just walk next to my parents with the cart. With my head down, I barely looked at him and said a quick, quiet, “Hello.” Then I waited for them to pass by.

Today as I think back on that moment, now I fully understand the puzzled look on he and his sister’s face. He was in my class after all, why couldn’t I just say hi like a normal kid? After they passed by, my parents asked with a smile, “Who was that?” All I could say was, “Oh he’s in my class.”

In telling my Dad this memory and what this particular person meant to me, he broke out into laughter and said I should write a blog about it. So here I am, all because of a maze of thoughts, lead here because of the simple idea of liking something.

Back then, even if we had a “like” button for a boy, I don’t think I would have had enough guts to click it. As a child I was loud, goofy and outgoing, but as soon as I “liked” someone I turned into an introverted shy kid looking at the ground. However with time, age, wisdom and technology that has all changed. I can flirt without having to look someone in the eye now, do it with a click, finesse and for all the other person knows, maybe I am dressed like Willow Smith on the other end of the computer radiating warmth and sunshine.

Were you ever originally annoyed by the “like” button? Did you ever feel like it removed the effort needed for a friendship or relationship? What has lead you from one thought to another to think of someone you haven’t thought about in a long time?


43 thoughts on “Underestimating the “like” button

  1. I’m going to be brave and hit ‘like’, because I truly did like this post! The ‘Like’ button is a curious phenomenon. I’ve seen so many people automatically ‘Like’ things on FB without even reading them. I remember a time when someone posted that they were sick in bed with a fever and 2 people clicked ‘like’ underneath it! Sometimes, I think the ‘Like’ button does tempt us to circumvent dialogue. It’s the equivalent of asking a classroom for a response and getting a silent show of hands instead. You know they’re with you, but you’re not sure how deep it goes.

    • Thank you so much “quiet person”! You are so sweet! Yes, I agree with you on the “like” button. I too have often wondered if some of my friends in the past who have clicked “like” actually meant it or even understood what they were liking? I love your analogy, “It’s the equivalent of asking a classroom for a response and getting a silent show of hands instead.” Well said and you said it so eloquently too. I think with the length of time I’ve been on Facebook (going on 5 years now) the people who click like on anything (at least with my page) are definitely with me…it takes a while for friends to sometimes figure you out and you to figure out your friends through means of virtual communication. At least when you see them in person things can get sorted out and then you truly understand the deeper meaning of their “like” button. Hopefully I’ve made sense and haven’t rambled too much, kind of running low on energy!

      Thank you so much for your post and for being brave! LOVE IT! 🙂

      • You’ve made complete sense, and I think your rambling is endearing! Rambling is a lost art form.

  2. To me, the like button has become many things in many circumstances. Sometimes, I hit “like” if something makes me laugh or smile. Many times it’s a way for me to say “hey, that’s cool!” to someone’s photo or experience they posted about. Sometimes it’s my way of saying “hey” when I don’t know the person real well. I have been on the receiving end of some annoying “likes,” for example the time I found out the gal I thought I was going to marry was cheating on me, and when I changed my relationship status back to single on the day I found out, I had a few people hit the “like” button, still unsure if they meant that they were happy I was single again or if they were happy that this particular woman was out of the scene (more than one friend gave me a “I told you so” when that all went down…)

    • HI JESS!!! It is SO GOOD to see you on here!!! Totally with you on your interpretation on the use of the “like” button. That is exactly what I use it for too, just a little “Hey how’s it going?” until you can have a lengthy conversation or comment later.

      As far as annoying likes…wow. Jess, I am so sorry. So sorry that it happened, and that it went down like that. I totally understand where you’re coming from and had something similar happen to myself on Facebook. When you’re in a situation like that especially, when you don’t know if you should feel bitter, angry, upset, or sad or just plain heartbroken its hard to understand what people mean when they say they “like” your relationship status. This happened to me last year (as you know from our mutual best friend) and several people clicked “like” on the new status. Like you I even had a guy friend E-mail privately through Facebook and do a whole run down of the “I told you so”. It was the worst play by play ever and it hurts when you know everything that has happened with your former significant other, how that person hurt you and when you know your friends were right and you quite possibly let them down by not listening to their sage advice in the first place. (At least in my case.)

      Again Jess, it is so good to see you on here and thank you so much for taking the time out of your day and busy schedule to comment! 😀

      • Thank you for the blog! It’s awesome to get to see more from people than just their facebook posts, which usually (i’m guilty of this too) are just jokes or bitching about work (probably why our mutual friend started calling it Fakebook)

  3. I think “like” is, like, overused, and I mean this more to do with Facebook. Sometimes when people post unpleasant news or a tragedy there is nothing to do but “like” it. I think we mean to say we sympathize with the person, but (like Jess) I’m not sure if people are happy for the circumstances or just showing support. I think Facebook needs an unlike button but then that would get overused and misinterpreted as well.

    I generally ‘like’ a blog post when I can related to what the person has written, or I appreciate that they shown me a new perspective. It’s a bit of short-hand before you can comment or a show of support. And that’s appreciated too.

    I will go ‘like’ your post now.

  4. Hello iRuniBreathe! You are so right! If we did have an option for a different button, it would also be misinterpreted. If you could come up with an “I sympathize” button, maybe that would be more appropriate? Then again Mark Zuckerberg would have to create a whole new format and change Facebook again just to accommodate those of us who would like others to be more specific. After all he did create “the poke” on Facebook!? That aside what button would you propose Mr. Zuckerberg create next if he was going to?

    I also like your take on the “like” button and its precursory use to the “comment”. I think overall like you say, its just nice to know you have your friends’ support, and thats what really matters. 🙂

    And thank you for “liking” my post! Ha ha ha…

    You are too sweet! 🙂

  5. Conversations about aliens usually remind me of a very good high school friend who moved away to Indiana [from Florida]. She and I witnessed a UFO on the beach at night once and we have never forgotten it. Although it has been years since we’ve seen each other, we will never forget each other, and every time somebody brings up aliens it reminds us of each other. Besides that, I hardly ever think about her anymore. And, when aliens is brought up, I usually try to relive the story for the people I’m with. They usually don’t believe me, or can’t believe me, or just can’t get interested in my lengthy and accurate description of a UFO — the story doesn’t cut it, but I will always have just one person who will always be as excited and astonished as I am about it.

    • That is a beautiful story! It’s funny how we have certain bonds with people which we can’t explain to others. Your moment with your friend truly sounds like a “You had to be there moment.” Thank you for sharing this with us! Have you thought about getting in contact with this friend or maybe bringing up aliens to re-break the ice with her?

      • I’m still in limited contact with her which consists of FB message spurts now and then. Nothing very involved or close. Perhaps I should change that? We flow in and out of contact over time, though, plus she lives 1300 miles from here.

    • Agreed! 😀

      You know I hate to say it, but its not always easy to be witty all the time. A friend told me privately through E-mail, the like button for her was to let the other person know she was there for them and they were heard…and she is one of the wittiest people I know! So I definitely know where you and my friend are coming from! Thanks for posting! 🙂 Do you feel sometimes there are no words? Other than to just stand back and appreciate what your friend has posted? Sometimes I feel that way, you just sit back in awe.

  6. I don’t really do the “Like” button. To me, it’s just to impersonal. I would rather comment on something I like to tell you how much I liked it and could relate. If I have enough time and energy to hit a button, I have enough time and energy to type a few words. .

  7. Well to be honest, I felt like you up until last month. That is when I fully realized the power of the like button, and how it can be used as a precursor to a comment. Sort of to let your friend know they were heard and you will respond later at a better time when you’re not in transit, or in a meeting or in an awkward situation. (Depending on the urgency of the post.) However if it is something fun that isn’t urgent, it could wait until later. Other than that, I am totally with you…if you are sitting at home like I am now, and you have the ability to like something, you have the ability to type something…HOWEVER…I will say there are times where there simply are no words…when you sit back in awe at the post and admire it…all you can do is like it! Guess that’s why a picture post is worth a thousand words I guess? Since reading comments on this particular entry, I’m on the fence…I can see how the like button can hinder communication and how it can sometimes help.

    Thank you for your post and for taking the time to stop by and read! 🙂

  8. What a great memory! It’s interesting the various fragments of what we remember from our younger years.

    Back to your topic of “like” … I agree with the comment from Jess (above). If a picture, blog post or status update is posted and it brings me a smile or chuckle, I “like” it. If it’s something that would give me an “A-ha!” moment or get a response of “Cool!” in person, I’d probably hit “like” as well.

    I was randomly blog surfing just this afternoon and came across an article about the “follow” concept. A pretty good read as well.. you might want to check it out at your leisure: http://enjoylifeforonce.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/blogging-as-a-mindfulness-practice-why-i-left-you-a-comment/

    • Thank you Shelley! Will definitely have to check out the blog, it sounds interesting! And yes, I agree with you, if I identify with anything being said on the blog or post I will click “like”. Thank you so much for you comment and for taking time out to read this blog! 🙂

  9. I think the problem with the Like button on blogs is that sometimes, people just sprinkle Likes around so that you will visit their blog–without even reading the post. I realized this a few months ago when I had a “publish” snafu wherein I accidentally re-published a post like, 5 times (as I was writing it… instead of hitting “save”…). A few of the in-progress versions were completely indecipherable, yet they still gathered Likes! On the other hand, here I am commenting w/out Liking because my job has evidently blocked Gravatar, so I can’t. But I like it!

    • Thank you for the comment and WANTING to like this post! Yes, sometimes like you I feel the main problem at least with liking a blog is some people will post like and not take the time to read it. This recently just happened to me and it was literally two seconds after having just published said post! There is no way someone is that fast of a reader even if they have a photographic memory, it takes more than two seconds to scroll down! Anyway, I couldn’t agree with you more and I feel your frustration. I “like” what you have to say! 🙂

  10. I still have a problem with the like button. Old school I guess but it seems to me if you like a post it’s rude not to leave a comment.I mean after you have taken the time to go there and read the post and think about it how hard is it to leave a comment?

    • This is true, however sometimes I feel with time issues its always good to at least press the like button so people know they have been heard. I mentioned to someone before the like button is sort of like the telling someone you will comment later. However, I do agree with you, if you’re going to take the time to like something at least leave a comment but nowadays sometimes I just sit back in awe of my friends and am left speechless so all I can do is like what they’ve said or posted? I’m kind of on the fence with this one given recent enlightenment on the button? 🙂 Hopefully I’m making sense, running on little sleep! Ha ha ha!

  11. You sound exactly like myself back at that age… =.=
    I also had similar stories like that… How things play out in our minds then with reality revealing the sad and boring alternative… I always kicked my own butt retrospectively…

    • Do you ever look back and think, “Why did I act like that? Why was it so paralyzing and crippling to talk to that person?” Have you ever come up with an answer? Glad to know we were together in spirit at that age! 🙂

      • Always… I used to think back about those incidents a lot… when I was still a teenager. But I assume you’re familiar the ‘bully syndrome’ where the guy/girl will pick and tease the person of the opposite sex which they had liked… yet giving the completly the opposite message.I believe our situation is similar to that… but spellbounded with a lot more excitement, grooving and dancing.
        C’mon… the excitement always wins out… =)
        But the wrong message is sent nonetheless…

  12. Well, since the phenomenon of “Like this if you want this kid to survive” spreads on facebook, I kinda underestimated the “like” button. People overrate the like button and it seems just so silly.
    For me “Like” button means that other people also feels the same feeling with or think the same thoughts of whatever you post but it would be so honest and polite of you also leave a comment to tell you what you feel about the post. =)

    • AGREED! I feel the same way you do, sometimes its hard to leave a comment though depending on time constraints but sometimes like some people have suggested the like button is a precursor to a later comment? Thank you for your comment and taking the time to read! 🙂

  13. Ha if there was a “like” button for school crushes, people would’ve thought I was asexual. I was always too scared. Great analogy, and post of course. It was definitely worthy of the “like” button.

    • Thank you so much! Ha ha ha! I was too scared too and always wound up doing passive flirting, which wasn’t really flirting, it was usually just me standing in the back of a group of girls or just by myself hoping the guy would look my direction. Sigh. 🙂

  14. Another who likes the ‘like’. I have only recently re-launched my blog and I sometimes wonder if anyone at all is reading it as I don’t get many comments anymore. I have made it a lot more private than it used to be and still in the process of re-connecting with my old blogging buddies (from vox).

    • Yay! Thank you so much! I agree, sometimes the like button is a way to let us know people are still there with us, reading with us and identifying. Maybe like some of the other bloggers who have commented here they feel there are no more words to add other than they “like” what you have to say and agree!:) Hopefully you will reconnect with your old blogging buddies!? Its fun to write and read what others have to say, I think reading what others have to offer, think or say definitely makes a better writer out of us! 🙂 Thank you for commenting and taking the time to read this!

  15. Though I have been on the internet for well over ten years now and know things about the internet that the average user has never explored, the “Like” button is something new to me. I’m a newbie when it comes to Facebook, WordPress, and other services; I’m still learning my way around while trying to become an anti-antisocial. I’ve enjoyed being quiet and unseen for so many years now, stepping out of the shadows and into the light is a different life.

    When it comes to the “Like” button, I usually click it when I’m enjoying what is said or shared, or when I can relate to what has been said or shown. I may not comment 100% of the time. More often than not, it’s because what I have read or seen has more effect on my own personal thoughts, and I would rather leave them silent; might not know what angle to approach from. So, I leave it silent until I remember it during a time when my mind is not so filled.

    A recent breakup has led me to thoughts of people whom I once knew, or spent only a few moments with. Specifically, the women who chose to flirt with me during the nine years that I was unfortunately throwing my life away.

    Thank you for sharing with the rest of us.

    • if I can ask, what caused you to step into the light? What made you want to become anti-antisocial? I agree with you on commenting when your mind is clear. It seems anymore it is hard to find a quiet place to sit, think and comment on someone’s blog, facebook page or even just a simple E-mail! Sometimes I have to let the words rattle around in my head because I feel things usually before thinking them, therefore the brain needs time to process the feelings, so I kind of can empathize on how reading something can affect you and you don’t know quite yet how to react to it.

      As far as your last comment, if I could just impart some words from my own mistakes…don’t look at the last 9 years as a waste. Look at them as a lesson in figuring out what you want in life and what you want in a future mate. 🙂 I know its hard to see it that way, it always is after a break-up. Hopefully you’ve reconnected with some of those women you chose to have as friends in your life?

      • As a note: I keep trying to remind myself that mistakes are made for the sole purpose of teaching; we each learn from our mistakes. Sometimes… it’s hard to remember.

        To answer your question, I would like to say that I became antisocial when I was pulled apart from the young lady whom I recently broke up with. That time, it was due to personal issues, and we remained apart for four years. In this time, every woman that I looked at, I couldn’t help but see the woman I loved and the pain resulting from it was simply too much for me at the time. I locked myself away.

        Over the years of being with my ex-girlfriend, I’ve put on hold or completely denied myself dreams. Some of the dreams have come and gone, but others still remain as dreams. I’m not able to complete the dreams by keeping myself locked away, and the ball and chain that once held me back is no longer the keeper of the key.

  16. Ha! This was funny. Breakdancing. I think I would have been the kid to breakdance and then walk to the frozen food section. But everyone has that shy gene when you get to “liking” somebody. It happens, especially to us girls 🙂

    • Oh my gosh! Ha ha ha!!! Yeah, walking into the frozen aisle to cool off after breaking a break dance sweat would have definitely been ideal! Why do we do the shy thing? I don’t get it? It happened again to me the other day at work and for some reason I’m left paralyzed! Grrrr! I didn’t even like the guy anymore, he was a crush I had in highschool, don’t even know if recognized me, oh well. HA HA HA! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read this long post and comment!

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