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Not With The Band: Do We Need A Dislike Button On Facebook?

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A recent ‘event’ on my Facebook feed made me think about people’s behavior and what social media have done to us. If a person posts any form of expression on social media, such as a cover of a song, as it happened for this case, what does this person expect and wish for? 100 or even 1,000 likes? You bet! Have you noticed that there is no dislike button on Facebook? And I would really use that button for a few posts I see every morning! No, you are either condemned to ‘like’ or you have to abstain yourself of any opinion, this is a new politically correct era, welcome to this new world.

I was reading an interview of Bret Easton Ellis and I was amazed how much I agreed with him. Now Bret is around my age and he considers this phenomenon as an age thing: we are older than what he calls the ‘generation Wuss’, the 20-30 something, and we do not belong to the same generation:

‘When Generation Wuss creates something they have so many outlets to display it that it often goes out into the world unfettered, unedited, posted everywhere, and because of this freedom a lot of the content displayed is rushed and kind of shitty and that’s OK—it’s just the nature of the world now—but when Millennials are criticized for this content they seem to collapse into a shame spiral and the person criticizing them is automatically labeled a hater, a contrarian, a troll. And then you have to look at the generation that raised them, that coddled them in praise—gold medals for everyone, four stars for just showing up—and tried to shield them from the dark side of life, and in turn created a generation that appears to be super confident and positive about things but when the least bit of darkness enters into their realm they become paralyzed and unable to process it.’

And this is exactly what I see happening everywhere on facebook, people act up only because someone dares to say something negative about the song they have posted, they even insult the person and start a facebook war… I have experienced it this morning and I wasn’t even the person formulating an opinion, just defending a person having an opinion! So is this because these Millenials (18-34 year-old) have been too over-protected by their parents and raised in a constant positive reinforcement environment, as Bret E. E. suggests it? Is this why they can’t take a criticism and immediately jump at the throat of everyone who dares to say… ‘I don’t like your music? ‘I don’t care for your cover band?’ There is a lot of this, I constantly observe this ‘have to like everything’, ‘don’t judge people’ mentality, with young people I teach to.

This is going to lead to a big problem, people will not be able to express opinions anymore, they will not take the risk to be ostracized by others. And so what? are we going to end in a like-everything world? I have to admit it, I am sometimes tired to push that ‘like’ button, but, if I don’t do it, will people get mad at me? Yes, some will! And this is very annoying. This new world focuses so much on social media these days that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram have taken a large place in everyone’s life, we are all celebrities or pretend to be, and people put way too much emotions in their Facebook profile or Tumblr page. We always want more likes, more retweets and reblogs… it feeds a monster inside all of us, it brings the ego front row. I feel guilty of this every day, every time I post something, I can feel this dopamine boost each time I receive a notification for another like, even though I am not always the author of the post as I am just reposting something… and I realize how sad and ridiculous it is.

But if someone dares to attack a post, and the author’s whole life seems to crumble, and drama follows. We have created narcissistic monsters, we have all become some and life is more difficult than ever… With this no-dislike-button policy, the politically correct reigns, opinions vanish and as soon as people express opinions they expose themselves to the harsh reality of this new world. Journalist and author Jon Ronson just wrote the book ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’, describing how public shaming is a new internet phenomenon, and how people can even get fired over a ‘bad’ tweet…

So do we have to ‘like’ each song cover posted on the page of each of our Facebook friend? Certainly not, but if we don’t, we may lose some friends, it just happened to me this morning. I even ended blocking this person because we disagreed and he was getting really insulting and obnoxious. And there is a real danger to that too, when we have blocked all the Facebook faux friends because we disagree with them, we will end up with only the people we agree on anything, and what kind of word is this? A perfect new world where everyone likes everything and nobody is arguing on anything? It’s insane and so boring, I don’t want to live in this kind of world, but I guess I have no choice anymore.

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