Friday, December 12, 2014


Every now and then someone starts throwing around the idea of a ‘Dislike’ button on Facebook. And for whatever reason, people tend to get behind the idea. And to them I say, NO!

Fortunately, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg dislikes the idea of a ‘Dislike’ button as much as I do. And to him I say, thank you! Oh, and thanks for letting us use Pusheen stickersthey’re so gosh darn cute!

Why am I such an opponent of the ‘Dislike’ button? My reasons aren’t exactly complicated. But in case you don’t want to continue reading, the simple answer is that it discourages civility, effort, and critical thinking.

Sorry, I just wanted to post another Pusheen. SO CUTE.

As if the internet wasn’t already a hostile enough place, we would be in a position where we don’t even have to specify why we don’t like something, we can just click ‘Dislike.’ Think about any comment section you’ve seen for a news item--even on a topic that’s not really that controversial. It’s littered with trolls and assorted asshats who have a keyboard and a comment section, and they’re speaking their minds, regardless of how ignorant, hateful, or incorrectly spelled it might be.

Do you really want to just give those folks a button? At least right now they still have to take the initiative to state why they don’t like something someone’s posted. (As opposed to ignoring it, but who does that?!! Lolz!!!) Commenting requires effort and at least a minuscule amount of thought--something that doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people. The convenience of a button would bypass both effort and thought, making Facebook and Facebook linked platforms an even more vicious arena for semi-anonymous, completely detached feedback, trolling, fighting, and general rudeness.

A ‘Dislike’ button will also encourage attention whores to be even worse than they already are. You’ve seen the posts. They’re like diary entries with an emo soundtrack. ‘Life is le sad for whatever reason and these are all the things wrong with life and life is terrible and I’m terrible and everything goes wrong in my life and this world and I’ll always be unhappy’ etc., etc., etc. Usually people post words of encouragement, along with the occasional clever person who posts, ‘dislike!!’ If there really was a button, imagine all the people who would select ‘Dislike’ as a sign of solidarity and support. The poster would be validated with the attention and amount of ‘Dislikes’—look how many people recognize the depths of despair you feel!!

Although to be honest, most people would really just be thinking this:

Not because we don't love you, but because you're being a drama llama and it's better to talk to your friends directly than to post to the world at large how awful life is for you. We just want you to be happy! WHY AREN'T YOU HAPPY??

But on a very basic level it creates a setting for people to feel bad about themselves. Bullying would take on a completely new dynamic. But setting aside the enormous problem of bullying, think about how you’d feel if people ‘Disliked’ what you were posting about? And I’m not talking about controversial topics. I’m talking about posting things like, ‘Just bought a new dressI feel so pretty!’, ‘Person A and Person B are now engaged!’, ‘I really like [whatever it is you like]!’, ‘I had a great time with friends A, B, and C!’, a duck-faced party pic, a selfie, or an oversharing/TMI pic of yourself/your family/your vacation. Yes, people post everything from the inane to the routine to the life changing on Facebook. And sometimes others think what you’re posting is dumb or uninteresting. Sometimes these people will take the time (why??) to post a dry, sarcastic remark, a backhanded compliment, or a passive aggressive response. But again, that requires effort and thought. There are people who are rude, petty, and bored enough that they’d revel in such a button.

Now naturally there are arguments for a ‘Dislike’ button. There’s the efficiency of simply clicking ‘Dislike’—it would save time! Or perhaps one might lack the appropriate research or vocabulary to tackle something they don't like, but they could still express their feelings on the matter. To mirror one of my previous points, arguments on the internet would be revolutionized! No longer would we feel the need to argue with trolls; we could simply ‘Dislike’ what they’ve said! Take that, jerks!

But those arguments of support don’t really outweigh the arguments against. A ‘Dislike’ button is just a bad idea. It engenders hostility, negativity, and laziness--things we already have enough of in this world. So let’s 'Like' more things! Let’s be more civil! Let’s have thoughtful, well researched debates and conversations! Let’s support one another! Let’s be awesome!

1 comment:

  1. Oh I don't know. If people truly don't care what others think, why post something on the net at all? And one possible aspect of caring is really disliking something. By only allowing "Like!" buttons, it skews the response that the poster so obviously is seeking. Unless you are advocating for "if you can't say something nice...." or "everyone gets a trophy" I see dislike buttons as every bit as responsive as like buttons or thumbs up icons.