So you’re on Facebook. Welcome to Earth. The social media giant has become the central hub for posting pictures, stalking acquaintances, ignoring event invites and boosting the self-esteem of members of our social circle by “liking” their posts.
“Likes” are Facebook’s social currency, and there’s plenty of them circulating. The only problem is that most of the time, we don’t actually like the things we “like” on Facebook. Instead, we click the thumbs up button for a variety of reasons that have little to do with legitimate interest, mostly because our society is kind of pathetic, and also because Facebook is that place where appearance has little to do with reality.
So in no particular order, here are the five types of likes you’re bound to come across on the Book of Face:
The Pity Like
There it is, a status update that no one has liked. You scroll down your timeline and you don’t want to see it, but you do, and now that you see that it doesn’t have any likes, you can’t look away.
You might not even read the actual status. And if you do, you’ll understand why no one’s liked it. Maybe it’s because the post doesn’t make sense, or it’s about pot roast, or it’s three pages long, or it’s about vomit. But there it is. All alone, for 7 hours with no likes. So you “like” the status. You don’t actually like the status. You probably didn’t even read it. But you pity your Facebook friend and want them to think that at least one person pretends to care what they have to say.
The Guilt Trip Like
Your friend has posted about the tragedy she recently endured for the 137th time. As much as you feel bad for her, you’re tired of hearing about this tragedy in every single status update. You don’t like these statuses. In fact, you hate them. Because they make you sad, and they make you think about what a bad friend you are for not checking on her more often, and they make you think about the people you’ve recently lost, and they make you not want to check Facebook for the next month to avoid seeing similar updates.
But 37 other people, most of them in your circle of friends, have already liked this status, and you kind of look like a douche if you don’t, too. So despite the fact that you hope to never read another status like it, and you actually hate this status, you just liked it.
The Payback Like
Your Facebook friend has been liking your statuses like it’s her job. You, on the other hand, haven’t liked any of hers in months. You feel guilty, so you visit her page, see a photo that’s not hideous and a couple of status updates that don’t make you want to cringe, and you “like” them. You don’t actually like them, of course. But you’re selfish, and you want to appear to be well-liked, so in an effort to make sure this friend continues to like your status updates and photos, you throw a few likes her way.
The “Notice Me” Like
This type of “like” is a strategic move to get someone to pay attention to you. It’s like a poke, if that even exists anymore, except not so weird and ridiculous. Maybe you haven’t talked to this person in awhile, but you’re lazy and don’t feel like starting a chat or sending a message. So you “like” a status you don’t actually care about in hopes that they’ll contact you.
Or maybe this is a guy you have a crush on. Most likely, this is a guy you have a crush on. So even though you have no interest in fishing, and you have no idea why people would voluntarily do it, you “like” the status they just posted about their fishing expedition, so they’ll get a notification that you liked it, so maybe they’ll check your profile, and maybe they’ll text or call you, and maybe you guys will start dating, and maybe you’ll get married and live happily ever after, all because you liked a status that you didn’t really like.
The Genuine Like
In this day and age of Facebook fronting, this is the rarest of all scenarios: You liked a status because you actually liked the status. Not because you feel bad for their un-liked update, or you feel guilty for not liking their umpteenth status about depression, or because you’re trying to get their attention, or because you’re trying to pay them back for all their likes and thereby keep those likes coming. This is for real.
Maybe their post made you laugh, or cry, or think. Maybe it taught you something you didn’t know, or reminded you to sign that petition about Monsanto, or maybe it was a picture of cats, because who doesn’t like pictures of cats? Maybe your friend just got some good news, or someone made a witty quip, or someone shared an article that actually contained some useful information. In any case, the post was like-able, and you liked it.
Hold onto that feeling. Let it carry you through the endless streams of self-indulgent nonsense and advertisements that Facebook has become, and remember that at some time in the not-too-distant future, there may be another post that you’ll genuinely like again.