We’re all familiar with the ‘like’ button – allowing us to show our love, or approval with a simple ‘Thumbs up’ emoji. And this recent news was only a matter of time. Mark Zuckerberg has just announced that Facebook is going to introduce a ‘dislike’ button.
The ‘dislike’ button is something that’s been requested for years. In a Q&A session held at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, the 31-year-old said that “The button would be a way for people to express empathy”.
I’m not so sure.
Liking and disliking, behind the safety of a screen
That statement really got to me. In our world of online dating, text messaging and emails, many people use the anonymity of social media and non-face-to-face contact. Often, people find it easier to express themselves, and act on those feelings that are harder to manage.
To highlight the point above, I want to talk about a recent mobile phone advert where a mother proudly commented that her son can say he loves her via text, as he would never do that in real life. It seems we are running from powerful or profound emotions by turning to technology to convey these messages for us.
But at what consequence? The message is getting through but is the feeling or the raw emotion really conveyed? Does it still mean the same thing?
Zuckerberg’s statement about the ‘dislike’ button really sums up my thoughts on the matter. It seems that we need an online forum to show our negative feelings – so that we don’t need to go to that emotionally painful place. It devalues the time we should be expressing ourselves in words, or showing our condolences. Now, we ‘react’ to stories we see with emojis or reply to things with GIFS. The raw physicality of showing our vulnerability and connecting with our feelings is almost becoming ‘tick boxed’.
What do you think? I would love to know.