Disliking the Facebook ‘dislike’ button

This summer, Gmail introduced the “undo send” button, which dramatically reduced the amount of individuals who yell at their computer screens after hitting the “send” button a little too soon.

If only Hillary was aware of this, the amount of literature produced on gefilte fish would most likely be 
reduced as well.

Amidst teenagers barfing rainbows on Snapchat and playing drinking games to the CNN GOP debates, Mark Zuckerberg dropped the mic when he announced Facebook’s plan to introduce a “dislike” button.

Personally, my initial reaction to this new advancement was underwhelming. What’s the big deal?

But once I thought about it, a dislike button could be helpful. I always feel awkward liking someone’s status about his or her late relative or terminally ill pet. Obviously I don’t actually like these things, but I feel obliged to like them as a sort of recognition of their grief.

It’s kind of vile if you think about it. But that’s technology, isn’t it? Just look at Snapchat’s new app allowing us to barf rainbows and change our eyeballs into enlarged hearts.

So maybe a dislike button would allow the sympathetic user to express empathy by way of recognizing sadness amidst meaningless jargon of teary emojis and Pic Stitch collages.

My problem with this button is it’s exceedingly 
insincere in nature.

First off, my brain doesn’t comprehend how someone’s anguish can be transcribed on a web page full of advertisements for Candy Crush alongside a cue of friend requests from randos. It’s quite absurd.

Aside from this internal dilemma I have with post-humus praise via status updates, tweets and 
Instagrams, it bothers me how public it all is.

No offense, but I never met your great uncle twice removed, and I’m sure he was a great guy and all, but I really don’t care to know how terrible your day was because he passed. This sounds like I have no heart, and its possible I don’t, but my cynicism isn’t what’s 
being questioned here.

My end point is if we are to get past the idea of tragedy’s presence on social media, and if you care enough to respond to someone’s suffering, at least do it with your voice. Give your so-called friend an actual call — also known as using a real telephone by dialing an area code and a phone number. I know it sounds crazy but it’s surprisingly easy. Not to mention 10 times more memorable and genuine in nature.

If disliking heartache is the real purpose of introducing this button, then I’m 
calling Zuckerberg’s bluff. With that highly hypothetical empathy, the dislike button also allows for a multitude of humility in terms of bullying.

What if, God forbid, you get more dislikes than likes on your profile picture? Self-esteem goes down the tubes, along with any form of social life you had prior to this catastrophe.

Technology has a habit of being misunderstood. How, if we can’t even interpret someone’s “kk” text, will we be able to understand the motive behind someone pressing the dislike button?

Truly, I hate the idea wholly, because this button only wreaks havoc for those brave — or cowardly — enough to use it.

This article was originally published as a column for the Indiana Daily Student on 17 September 2015.


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