Nikhil Kuruganti: Facebook and Likes

Facebook and Likes

like button

Some dismiss the Facebook Like buttons as feedback for lazy people. They argue commenting should be sufficient and more human to express the liking of a status message.

As you probably guessed by now, I respectfully disagree. Pressing the "Like" button is more than what it looks like on the surface. Allow me to explain why I think so.

One of the most important things in human relationships is shared values. If two people from totally different cultures meet initially they are weary of each other. They don't know what to expect from each other, they don't know what each others intentions and objectives are. But as soon as they find a common interest, a common value they will start forming a relationship, later an alliance, even friendship. Occasionally when values overlap significantly and objectives can be aligned suddenly a magical thing love happens too.

When you virtually "Like" someone's picture of his kitten or his status message about a book he read you are saying a lot about yourself. It says you appreciate this person sharing his life, you care for animals, you have maternal (paternal) feelings for small creatures, you appreciate knowledge and the list goes on. All this information is expressed with two "Like" clicks and its transmitted not only to your friend but to all who see the post and your reaction, which can be hundreds of people.

Over time your Likes will generate a large amount of information about you and your personal values and this is immensely important for your friends. They can without thinking deduct what areas of life they can rely on you. In the oversimplified Venn Diagram below all three people can easily be friends because they have many shared values that are expressed through brands, people, music, etc. Jane and Jack can even become romantically involved because many core values are matching such as politics (philosophy), love for aesthetics, love for technology, etc. Jack and John can be buddies based on their expressed likes for shared things like Adobe and ETs.

facebook likes Venn Diagram

Finding shared values is an extremely strong and positive feeling. It assures the person of his own beliefs being right and suggests that he can rely on you when fighting for his values in the world. Simple Likes can eventually lead to comments, private emails and even personal meetings.

The more shared values people find in each other, the more likely they will overlook their unavoidable differences. And that creates harmony, cooperation and prosperity in a society.

I know it feels like I'm taking this too far. How can a small Liking make such a global change? But think about it — Facebook serves about a billion Likes a day. A billion of anything even insignificant is a lot. So, next time you Like something on Facebook, remember: You're sharing your values and you're making the world a slightly better place.

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