We’ve all been there: A Facebook friend (most-likely male) post something like: “I am so incredibly ill today :-( “.
What do you do? You can’t be bothered writing anything to him (as you know how man-flu works) but at the same time you want to acknowledge the pain he is going through. So you hit the “Like” button.
So now you like your friend being ill… hang on… that wasn’t quite the intention, but you are limited in your tools. What can you do?
The “Like” function is being adopted widely as a fast-food way of conveying emotions but is it actually sufficient?
“Suck” or “Great” is the only rating people are interested in anymore.
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of seeing the comedy legend that is Jerry Seinfeld in the o2 here in London.
He was amazing, but one performance stood out for me; His “Suck” and “Great” routine which proves you can react to everything with either that “Sucks“ or that’s “Great” as they actually cover just about any emotional response you will ever need in a flash.
Isn’t that the same as “Like” and “unLike”? not really. “Like” conveys a positive acknowledgement, but “unLike” isn’t the opposite response but rather a way of removing a previous acknowledgement. In other words; it is a function not an emotional response.
To add to the confusion “Like”, as a function, also serves different purposes on different networks. Some places it is to show appreciation, other places it is a way of following content to be notified of updates and yet other places it is used by the users to show they have read a piece of content regardless of whether they like it or not.
And that is at the heart of the problem. “Like” has become a function with an ambiguous definition whereas Jerry’s “Suck” and “Great” are emotional responses that in a conversional fashion clearly indicates how I as a person feel about the content I am reacting to, whether positive or negative.
Social Networks thrive on the positive but that is only one side of our lives. it is easy to “Friend” somebody but how do you gracefully “unFriend” them?
Maybe implementing Jerry’s “Suck” and “Great” responses will not only bring natural conversation back into the flow but also give us the fast food option to accurately convey the full spectrum of our emotions.