The Rise of Slacktivism

Computer screen showing Facebook login page

This post could also be called ‘Why I don’t like the like button (but I use it anyway…)’

It has been quite a weekend. The video showing Barack Obama’s awesome humiliation of Donald Trump at the White House correspondents dinner has 30,000 YouTube likes. So far, Osama Bin Laden is dead has 25,000 Facebook likes, although I’m sure that number will rise exponentially over the next day or two. And the big winner is Pippa Middleton, whose Ass Appreciation Society, also on Facebook, has nearly 130,000 likes.

There are many problems with the like button, the main one being that it makes us all (and I include myself in this) lazy. Like doesn’t always just mean like, and it doesn’t really take a lot longer to type, “I read that article too, and I completely agree with it!” or “What a great photo – you look lovely”.

I remember when I used to write letters to distant friends – real letters than needed to be put in an envelope and posted. Then we stopped writing and started emailing. Then we stopped emailing and started writing on each other’s walls. Now there are people who I communicate with entirely through likes – they like my status update, I like their engagement announcement – but there is very little two-way conversation to remind each other what we actually, erm, liked about each other in the first place. Continue reading