If you like this, keep it to yourself

Japecake on WordPress.com has alerted me to something which has been on the peripheral of my thoughts lately. We are fast becoming a race of ‘likes’. This phenomenon is mostly visible on Crackbook (more commonly known as Facebook).

There is even an identifiable sub-culture of ‘likers’: people who never say anything or interact with you other than ‘liking’ something you do on the Social Media Giant. These are the ‘friends’ that ‘like’ that you just got a promotion (instead of saying congratulations), they ‘like’ the picture you posted of a cute puppy (that’s nauseatingly cheesey and lame) and they ‘like’ that a car has run over your foot and you are in hospital (thanks, Liker – that’s great).

And we as social creatures actually care about these ‘likes’. In business, we care about how many people ‘like’ our page, and as writers we care about how many people ‘like’ our latest piece, thus spreading it all over the internet like a virus. We care about how many hits our websites get and we need to have a lot of followers and friends on whatever social media network we are using – or all of them.

If we were Peacocks, the number of likes we have on a statement made online would be the equivalent of fanning our glorious tails. On the other hand, if we were baboons, it would be the same as being a female in heat, flaunting our bright red bottoms at the male baboon.

The Wall Street Journal posted an article on this too. This suggests that we all have fake online identities because we are so determined to get likes and comments. We need anything we post to be re-Tweeted and Stumbled Upon. Diggs and Reddits help too. We don’t care if it is vomit in someone else’s newsfeed. We care about that cute male baboon sniffing our bum.

During a busy few weeks, I was very inactive on my blog. I don’t know how many people noticed. During these few weeks I stopped obsessively checking my blog stats to see if anyone else was reading. To be honest, there was no significant impact on my life. I was working harder and after a few days I stopped thinking about ‘likes’ on my Facebook status and stats on my blog. They really make no difference. In fact, I was probably more inspired and more of an individual during that time because I wasn’t thinking about my next update or blog post. I was just me and I was being me in the real world.

My witty Facebook status updates are to provoke thought and make people laugh. My mobile uploads, blog posts and tweets are to keep people I don’t see up to date on what’s happening in my life or to share memories with those included. This means we’ll have more time for real talk and memories when we get together again. Small talk is boring.

I don’t get paid to write this blog, so it doesn’t really matter how many people read it. I don’t have time to write for money and besides, I don’t want to kill my hobby. I don’t have advertisers on this page, so who cares how many page impressions this page sees. I am glad that you are reading this, but let’s be honest, our lives are not changed by you reading with what I wrote.

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If you like this, keep it to yourself

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