So apparently the day us normal people have been dreading is around the corner.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explains that this is something people have been requesting for a long time, citing the example that people want an option when someone posts the death of a loved one. That’s something people want to express their sadness and condolences, not “like it.” Hence, a “dislike” button.
However, would it really work that way? Writer and Filmmaker Jon Ronson suggests something to the contrary. His TED Talk from June, “When online shaming spirals out of control” is well worth 17 minutes of your time to watch:
All this evidence is great, but here’s my greatest fear: in a time when our self-worth is already being eroded in way too many ways, can we afford yet another avenue for that to happen, and on the most widely used social media site in the world? Of course, the “dislike” button itself is not the problem, rather it’s our all too sobering penchant to build up our own self-worth by degrading others. We noble as Zuckerberg might think, and as good intentioned as we think we are, the truth is, when the chips are down, the majority of us would rather hit that dislike button so that people might know – we think they suck.
I wish I knew a way forward….having recently disabled my Facebook account, I can’t say that I’ve missed it all that much. This news about a dislike button does in fact feel like a sign that the Apocalypse is coming; we just that much closer to destroying the humanity in each other and the humanity in ourselves. Frankly, I don’t really have a whole lot to offer in the way of a solution or resolution. I know we need to teach and advocate for more responsible and accountable use of social media from ourselves and each other…..but again, I just don’t think we’re all that good. I know I’m not.
For now, I think it’s just enough to seriously take the time to think about the implications that when someone posts about a new job, a picture of a new haircut, numerous selfiies, “check-in” somewhere, and of course offer their social and political opinions….with the click of a button we can destroy those less resilient souls out there. With the click of a button we can crush the life from those who are so starved for affirmation that they would be vulnerable enough to seek it in the toxic environment of social media.
A “dislike” button….it’s a bad idea. Plain and simple. And Lutheran HONEYBADGER’s Facebook exile will continue, for now.