“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.