Facebook “Likes”- Sincere or not?

“If you ‘like’ something, does that mean you care about it?” David Carr wrote in today’s New York Times.

It got me thinking about Facebook and all the “likes.”

I liberally sprinkle “likes” on a variety of posts.  Animals, my daughter’s college tennis team, my niece’s gymnastic meets, my cycling club’s feats, books, movies, plays, vacation, baby photos, and politics—gay rights, women’s rights, civil rights and so on.  What does it say about me? Is my activism limited to clicking a tab, then scrolling on to something else to “like?”   Does hitting “like” assuage my guilt for not pounding the streets protesting?” If I don’t “like” posts shared by others about social issues, does that mean I don’t care about them?  Are my friends — another amorphous Facebook entity– offended if I don’t “like” the causes or cartoons they like?”

Sometimes after “liking,” I’ll open the link and sign an on-line petition. Rarely do I do much more.

Carr dubs this digital ritual  “Hashtag Activism.” He cites examples of how some news, thanks to the universal click click habit , became viral. Susan Komen, Kony, Trayvon Martin.  These stories spread through social networking—and affected change.

Perhaps there needs to be a rating, like stars for movies. I can give a photograph of newborn baby chicks one star in my “like.” The warm and fuzzy image evoked memories of growing up on my family’s poultry farm. When I “like” a gay marriage or women’s rights post, perhaps the icon should carry five stars; indicating that I really care about these issues. More stars, more weight.

I’ve been dabbling in some of the social networking with my book release.  With the help of a college kid, I tried to reach 1,000 free downloads during a Kindle special promotion. We made it to 795. Now I’m trying to get people to “like” the book’s Facebook page.

What I’m realizing, is that nothing really happens that fast.  Going viral attracts attention and would do wonders for sales. I can’t get into “tweeting.”  Maybe that would help.

Instead, I’m slowly building readers. Sale by sale. Talk by talk. Book by book.

I’ll be at the Summit Library May 1st at 7:30.  If you’re in the area, come. You might “like” it.

About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, two grandsons, and one grandchild due in August, 2011. I’m an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
This entry was posted in Books, commentary, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Facebook “Likes”- Sincere or not?

  1. Very interesting point. Out of all the people who “like” whatever it is, how many really follow through or become active for a cause? I have maybe a few hundred “likes” for my enterprise, but maybe a half-dozen hardcores. Is that just indicative of our society? Maybe so.

    • I think we are all caught up in the rabid “liking” movement. It’s somewhat harmless.. but unless it’s something one really cares about, I don’t think many act. That would mean having to get up from the computer!!! Thanks for stopping in and commenting.

  2. I must admit that I am more careful about what I like. So right now petitions, books and events are my favorite. Some causes I want to be a part of spreading. I like books and music. That is safe. I am not rabid yet about the “Likes.” I could get more excited and get moved to be more of an activist.

  3. And what about posts that you agree with bit couldn’t possibly like? For example, posts about violence, injustice and disaster. I think they should have an ‘agree’ button as well.

  4. Likes and caring may mean different things. Like may simply be appreciating a beautiful post, an image, a comment. Caring comes with thought and feelings, may be more. Thanks for sharing a post that touches the heart and mind. Have a blessed day.

    • Thanks for stopping in and the thoughtful comment. I agree– just finding it hard to equate liking a photograph- which I like many to just giving a thumbs up to a cause that really affects lives.

  5. Leah says:

    You’re doing a great job! FB can take a while to build likes and followers. Twitter is good. But I’m not sure it’s where you need to be to promote your book. I think FB and the blog is where it’s add. Keep going!

  6. Pingback: P&Q’s Week In Review « Prawn And Quartered

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s