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Don’t Like This

It started with one or two requests for likes per month.  It never bothered me.  My eye either passed over them, or sometimes I paused and read/looked even if I never also hit “like.”  It was a part of Facebook, a small part of Facebook, and usually, the person posting it had some connection to the person/situation in the image.  I could roll with it.

Then it became one or two a week, and that was still do-able.  I mean, I’m on Facebook in order to stay in touch with people and feel part of their day-to-day world even though we live far apart.  But that’s not why other people are on Facebook, and I can roll with that too.  Some people like to use Facebook to play games or win contests or pass along all the memes they used to pass along via email but got yelled at by their friends for passing along the memes there.  So just want to make this clear: it did not bother me even when the request for likes were coming once a week.  Because, you know, small drop in the Facebook ocean.

But by now, my Facebook stream is clogged — CLOGGED — with requests for Facebook likes to the point where I could not tell you one thing happening in my friend’s lives today, but I can tell you that they believe a random stranger should clean his house, a random child is beautiful, and a random woman with breast cancer needs to know that a bunch of strangers support her.  CLOGGED.  As in, I just opened Facebook and the last six updates out of 10 were all memes requesting that the viewer not only like something random, but people have stepped up their game, and now if you don’t like it, you are told that you are a cold, heartless asshole.

I own it.  I am a cold, heartless asshole.

The stories themselves have changed.  Months ago, they were usually health or emotionally-related.  There was a cutter whom I was told to like to know there were people out there who cared.  And there was a child with this disease or that who wanted to feel buoyed by the world by seeing those likes pile up.  And those I could possibly understand.  Those were explainable, why people were playing along.  BUT I’m sorry, I find the children-wanting-a-dog, man-will-only-do-household-chores, boy-will-propose-to-girl if I get a million likes memes not only annoying in their intrusion in my life (seriously, just do your fucking household chores: do you honestly believe you’re the only person out there who has to pull out the Clorox bleach?) but actually more than a little disturbing.

There is one where a little girl is holding up a sign that says: “Hello Facebook! My mom agreed to give up smoking only if I could get 1 million likes.”  ONLY?  I’m going out on a limb and assuming the mother didn’t really say this because who the hell crowdsources medical decisions?  And what is the next step from here?  My father beats me, but he’ll only stop if I get 1 million likes.  My daughter cuts herself, but she’ll only stop if I get 1 million likes.

There are all the ones that ask me to tell someone they’re beautiful.  People I don’t know.  People that I am trying not to objectify and reduce to a single adjective because — did I mention?– I don’t know them.  Beauty is so much more than a still photograph.  Tell me a little bit about the person you’re asking me to “like” and give them external validation that they’re pretty.  I mean, asking me to tell someone I know nothing about if they’re pretty is like asking me to tell you if I like something you’ve cooked while you withhold my sense of smell.  Just as taste requires more senses in order to earn its superlatives, so does simple things such as determining beauty*.  Unless the point is to make us as shallow as possible and not bring into consideration any characteristics or actions in determining beauty.

Can we all go back to that sweet time when the only thing we had to complain about Facebook were obnoxious politically-minded status updates, game-related requests, in-depth descriptions of everything a person ate in a day, and Stepford-like rewritings of people’s lives in order to project feigned joy?

You know, the good old days.**

Can we stop with the requests for external validation — either for ourselves or for others?  Can we make sure that we do enough for the people in our lives so they know that they’re loved and don’t need to ask strangers for that missing attention?  Can we make sure that every individual hears some compliments about themselves so they’re not chasing them from random people on the Internet?  Can we ask everyone who has requested something like this to turn around and ensure that others in their lives are feeling loved since if they’re feeling a deficiency, surely others are too.

If the problem we’re seeing is that people aren’t getting enough love, respect, attention, or compliments from their face-to-face world, one solution would be to address those needs with quality rather than quantity.  Humans are telling us in no uncertain terms that they are missing something from their lives and they’re trying to fill that void with computer mouse clicks.  Can’t we stave off the problem with a dose of vitamin… U?

I’m not just being facetious.  I really think these quests for one million likes*** are indicative of a deeper problem.  That there are people who crave attention and they’re not getting it.  Or they are getting it small scale, but they’ve been taught to aim for Super-Sized attention with their Super-Sized fries.

And either option is a problem.

P.S. You don’t need to tell me because I already know how crotchety I sound; like an elderly neighbour telling the damn kids to stay off her lawn!  Facebook like requests, stay out of my damn Facebook feed!  I also feel the need to apologize to everyone who has hit like and filled my Facebook feed these past few months: you are not really the problem.  The fact these memes exist at all is the problem.

* Now, if you want me to say whether a photograph in and of itself is pretty, I can judge its artistic form.  But that has nothing to do with the subject within.

** Truly, I didn’t think this was comment-worthy until I opened up Facebook just now and saw less about the individuals in my feed and more about random strangers.  I know others hit their wall with this much earlier than I did.  And others aren’t bothered by it at all, hence why they keep hitting like.

*** Am I the only person with a husband who says every time he sees one: “A million likes isn’t cool, you know what’s cool?  A billion likes.”


1 Anjali { 01.28.13 at 1:55 pm }

SING IT SISTER. It’s everywhere! I can’t escape it. I, too, feel like Facebook has become so impersonal what with all the prove-your’re-a-good-person-by-liking-or-sharing-this. It’s like one big chain letter. UGH! I’d rather go back to the days where people told me how many poopy diapers they changed in a day!

2 Kate { 01.28.13 at 2:00 pm }

Can I “like’ this post? I’m with you – it’s no longer about keeping up with friends, it’s a big ol’ waste of time!

3 Sharon { 01.28.13 at 2:23 pm }

My favorite feature on Facebook? The “hide from newsfeed” function. I use it liberally on “friends” who are repeat offenders of this, and several other, annoyances. 🙂

4 nonsequiturchica { 01.28.13 at 2:44 pm }

I 100% agree. These people that are seeking validation or 1,000,000 likes are the same people that are seeking to get onto a reality show. Plus you have to be careful- some of those posts were originally posted by a scammer. They more clicks and likes they get, the more money they make!

5 Sarah { 01.28.13 at 2:55 pm }

I occasionally liked stuff until I read this:


Now I won’t like anything unless I know it’s directly associated with a friend. This post reminds me that it might be time to put that link back on facebook.

6 MinnieK { 01.28.13 at 3:02 pm }

I agree with Sharon. I’ve hidden so many people from my newsfeed, it’s practically barren – just the way I like it.

7 Another Dreamer { 01.28.13 at 3:06 pm }

And that’s why some feed (or people) get hidden from my newsfeed. I am totally with you on this.

8 Amy { 01.28.13 at 3:07 pm }

you are so right!
I have to start ‘hiding’ people from my newsfeed

9 Nikki P { 01.28.13 at 3:24 pm }

You won’t get any arguements from me, I completely agree! I’m a bit tired of all the memes as well. Especially gun, Obama hating, political ones.

10 Shelby { 01.28.13 at 4:12 pm }

I see these only occasionally-thank God, cause there’s already enough melodramatic, attention-seeking, dirty laundry-airing crapola in my newsfeed as it is. But I think a combination of being selective about who I freind and/or blocking people from my newsfeed has done a world of good. (I just really need to get around to blocking those newly-‘preggo’ too fertile non-friends)
I personally think, as you alluded, that what people include in their posts can be a very public demonstration of their mental health and/or common sense (or lack thereof). Seriously, people. Just think before you post, please! 🙂

11 Heather { 01.28.13 at 4:19 pm }

Ha! My husband and I were just talking about this. It has gone way out of control. We compared news feeds the other day, he had 20 of these and I had 26. Enough already.

12 Battynurse { 01.28.13 at 4:20 pm }

YES! I know we’ve talked about all of the political stuff etc but these are an annoyance too. I saw one that was asking for people to pray for a baby scheduled to have surgery to remove 4 of the six legs it was born with. Then if you go google it the surgery was over a year ago. I’m also bothered by strangers asking everyone to pray for them but that is a whole different post related to my own beliefs.

13 a { 01.28.13 at 4:54 pm }

I kinda wish that if I “like” something on Facebook (and it is very sad that I have to put quotes on that, but that’s life, isn’t it?), it wouldn’t be shared unless I hit the “share” button. Wouldn’t that be logical? Because, while I sometimes “like” some of the drivel that other people pollute my feed with, it’s usually because I like the person who’s posting it, not really because of the sentiment that’s shared. Grrrrr. I tend to forget that it sometimes then clogs the feed of others who are in my feed.

14 lifeintheshwa { 01.28.13 at 5:43 pm }

I tend to dismiss most of them as scams of one kind or another. Even if they’re valid I’m not playing!

15 Justine { 01.28.13 at 8:48 pm }

I sent a former colleague to this post today because she was complaining about people making a Facebook page for a particular unit of the university that has no business on Facebook, and then demanding that she “like” it. Which is especially awkward, because, you know … colleagues. You have to WORK with these people, and they could make your life hell if you don’t like their stupid Facebook page.

I want to like what I FEEL like liking, not what I’m asked to like. Is that so antiquated now? *sigh*

16 Mali { 01.28.13 at 8:51 pm }

Fortunately I don’t see too many of these. I also saw the article about many of these being scams, so I feel vindicated for ignoring them.

I also try to reduce the number of notifications I get from others. I only get notifications for things I’m tagged in, or for responses to my own updates or things I’ve commented on. That way my FB message inbox is kept relatively clear. And I can scroll through my newsfeed past these unwanted “like” items relatively quickly.

17 Cristy { 01.28.13 at 9:13 pm }

I’m surprised Facebook hasn’t created an “unlike” button. Hear you all the way. But also not surprised. Unfortunately, I think this is going to result in another Facebook etiquette lesson; will be up there with not posting complaints about your place of employment unless you want to get fired and Facebook pages for people’s unborn children.

Sorry for the flooding, Mel.

18 Wolfers { 01.28.13 at 9:20 pm }

Haha! I had wondered the same thing, Cristy- Facebook ought to have an unlike button… I’m pretty tired of seeing so many memes wanting one to like, like, and like. I had put a lot of friends on hide, overmuch sharing images- I find myself sharing snopes.com often to disprove some links (like recently about an amber alert in Canada, which turned out to be fake)- would be much easier on us all if folks’d CHECK for facts before sharing!

19 Alexicographer { 01.28.13 at 9:48 pm }

Amen. because of the phenomenon @a describes, I “like” virtually nothing. I don’t think my likes and dislikes should generally be public information (even to my friends), sorry FB. I did make an exception for my son’s school, as I think doing so may have added them to my news feed (? Can you tell I’m a FB novice?), but otherwise, nope.

Because of the kinds of things @Justine describes, I hardly ever use my work FB account (As I use my maiden name at work, it is very easy and sensible to have two different accounts, though personally I think more people should do this, anyway. Who wants to blend the personal and the professional? What the heck?). I may check it once a quarter, if that, and I generally try not to post anything on it or reply to anything using it (if I want to address something, as when I recently learned of a former colleague’s loss, I do it outside of FB) as that way, everyone can assume (approximately accurately) that I’m never on FB and not just ignoring/not-liking them.

In short, yes: Hey kids! Off my lawn!

20 Azara { 01.28.13 at 9:53 pm }

This drives me NUTS. Twitter is getting out of control too – I’m tired of people asking me to vote for them in some popularity contest 10 times every day. Ugh!!

21 Lori Lavender Luz { 01.28.13 at 10:13 pm }

I Like this post.

I’ll get offa your lawn now.

22 Leah { 01.28.13 at 10:39 pm }

If you’re crotchety than so am I.

23 Kristin { 01.28.13 at 11:54 pm }

Preach on, Sister Mel!

24 St. E { 01.29.13 at 12:45 am }

So with you on this…and hence I no press ‘Like’ to it…I do share stuff from other people’s feed when I find it too funny, but I was never sold to the ‘If I get a million likes…’.

There’s a more grim side to these stupid images as well. India witnessed a horrific gangrape in its capital in December. The identity of the victim was never revealed. She was transported to Singapore for treatment, but she succumbed to her injuries. Someone posted a pic of a beautiful girl, and the apparently same girl on her hospital bed, and the image went viral. The message was that if you had any heart, you would like it, and you would share it. Several days later, it was found that both the images were fake, and that one of the pics was of some girl in Kerala, and she was alive – hale and hearty. Her pic was stolen and uploaded by someone in Delhi. How awful and disrespectful to the girl who dies. How irresponsible and intrusive for the two girls whose images were used in the pics.

25 St. E { 01.29.13 at 12:46 am }

Sorry for my awful grammar.

Give me your coffee and your money, and your chocolates, right now.

26 Tiara { 01.29.13 at 5:31 am }

I actually posted a link to a snopes article on a friends recent meme as it was very misleading & incorrect & it really bugged me!! I usually just pass it all by.

All the like posts nowadays almost makes me miss the days people would post minute by minutes status updates of their day. Almost

27 Mrs. Gamgee { 01.29.13 at 8:23 am }

Those kinds of wall posts, along with the platitudes, political ranting, and mind-numbing nonsense is why I rarely log into Facebook any more. I usually only drop in to see new family pics.

28 Chickenpig { 01.29.13 at 9:32 am }

I have very few FB friends so I have little of this stuff going on. But I’m with you on this one. Get off my lawn ,you crazy kids! grumble mumble.

29 YeahScience! { 01.29.13 at 10:11 am }

AAAAHAHAHAHA… “My daughter cuts herself, but she’ll only stop if I get 1 million likes.” Is it horrible that I just laughed at this?? Seriously, though, I agree that it’s getting completely out of hand.

30 HereWeGoAJen { 01.29.13 at 11:26 am }

I really dislike that about FB. And (shh), I have hidden all the friends that do it.

31 Shana { 01.29.13 at 12:30 pm }

Reason # 531 why I don’t do FB.

32 A Passage to Baby { 01.29.13 at 8:51 pm }

Often I see things I like that I want to share.
But usually if it tells me to “like” it then I won’t like it or share it.
I feel like an a-hole too; fortunately I’m totally ok with that.

33 Mina { 01.30.13 at 7:22 am }

I wonder who came up with this shit the first time? I would have an entire page of suggestions for that person to do instead of this.
I feel like FB has become a chain mail parade these days, everyone in my feed would rather share photoshopped pictures of ‘exotic’ places, and pictures of animals and stupid and/or offending sayings under the guise of ecards and such. The cherry on top – these bloody ‘like if you love your grandma and don’t want her to die’ memes. What happened to sharing earth-shattering events like ‘I boiled an egg’ or ‘It’s raining’? I can’t believe I miss those statuses…

34 loribeth { 01.30.13 at 2:10 pm }

I had a post cross my news feed today of a toddler holding up a sign: “Daddy says if I get 100,000 likes I can have a little brother or sister!” :p Most of the comments were along the lines of “How do you make a baby? First, you go on Facebook…” My first reaction, of course, was “It’s not always that simple…” :p

35 missohkay { 01.31.13 at 1:32 pm }

Also, a lot of these “like” memes are fake. To illustrate, someone on my timeline posted one with a woman holding up a blank piece of paper – a stock photo. And next to it was someone who’d posted the same stock photo with photoshopped writing on the blank paper asking for “likes” to support a fictional person’s fictional problem. As with political statuses, I find myself accidentally fact-checking people. If they can annoy me in their way, I can annoy them in mine 😉

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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