I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be more grateful that Facebook wasn’t around when I was in high school. Adolescents can be shitty little humans. Cyber bullying wasn’t a well-known term when I was shit-talking my classmates on AIM in the 9th grade (or being talked about, more likely), but we did enough damage with just that forum; I can’t imagine being able to screenshot and post publicly. I probably would have opted for homeschooling. Facebook can already be a pretty confrontational place. According to my newsfeed, mostly from my hometown and the comments sections of the local news outlets, it’s a great place to trash talk your deadbeat baby-daddy/momma, call out your ex bff who unfriended you and is trying to be all up on your man/woman, make egregious grammar mistakes while concurrently trying your hand at political commentary, etc.
People are over-sharers, and it’s already difficult enough to gauge tone and motive in textual formats, let alone some arbitrary click. For all of these reasons, along with the fact that sometimes people are just idiots, I’m not sure I’m on board with Zuckerberg’s upcoming Facebook “features.”
I know people have said they’ve wanted a Facebook dislike button for years, and I think there are certain instances where having that option would be preferable over an awkward “like.” For instance, “Susie Smith, 1 hr ago: My beloved pet rat crossed the rainbow bridge this morning. RIP, Templeton.” You know at least 4-8 people are coming in with that awk thumbs up. You think briefly to yourself, “surely they’re wishing my Templeton rests in peace.” But maybe one of them is actually being an asshole and is glad that rodent went bye bye. Who knows? Zuckerberg said, “What they [users] really want is the ability to express empathy. Not every moment is a good moment.”
If you think about it, though, the dislike button could have the same misconceptions with it. I could be disliking you wishing your pet rat peaceful, eternal sleep, for all you know. I would then be a sociopath, but those kinds of weirdos are out there.
According the NY Daily News, Zuckerberg DOESN’T see it as giving users a “chance to zing their friends’ family vacation photos or those thrilling announcements of what someone had for breakfast.” (I emphasize the word “doesn’t” because on my initial reading the article and subsequent write-up, I missed it. I’m due for a mid-week, extended happy hour. Anyways, moving on) I thought Zucks just wanted us to use this new button in jest to troll our friends, which I could totally see. “What? That bitch is in Italy? I wanna go to Italy. Fuck her. Dislike.” Kind of rude, but whatever. Sara, wine-drunk in Italy, is just going to think, “Haha. Emily is jealous, that ho. Lol, xoxo.”
But, in reality, I don’t see the dislike button being construed as merely a “zing” in a lot of instances, which Zuckerberg also seems to realize. The article mentioned that Zuckerberg provided few details on when this ability to click-troll people’s statuses, uh, I mean be empathetic, would be unveiled or on how Facebook would prevent users from registering dislikes for run-of-the-mill comments and posts, likely because they won’t… prevent, that is.
I’ll be interested to see if they prove me wrong, because I really think allowing for this option in the first place puts too much faith in humanity, acting as just another way to sit behind a keyboard and stir the proverbial pot, and this is coming from an occasional pot-stirrer.
The article also stated that Facebook is working on other “features,” such as read receipts for event invites. DO YOU JUST WANT EVERYONE TO HATE EVERYBODY, ZUCKERBERG?! Sorry for yelling, but seriously. I don’t really see the benefit to any of these new things. Just let me post my traffic rants, adult establishment check-ins, drunk pics, and internet smut in peace without me wondering why people are disliking my shit or someone else wondering why I don’t want to acknowledge my online invite to their kid’s BYOB fourth birthday party bar-b-q, okay, Zucks?.
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