I’ve wanted to write about this topic for a while now. Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the forty days of lent. An ideal time for a little self-experiment. As the title suggests I want to kiss liking goodbye. For various reasons. But most of all for the love of writing. Before I want to go into detail about my 40-day-challenge I want tell you why I am doing this and maybe inspire you to do the same!
4.5 000 000 000
That’s the average number of daily Facebook likes according to a statistic from May 2013. Divided among one billion Facebook users, this means that we like about four to five posts or pages every day!
I get the feeling that we care less and less about why we like some of these postings. It has just become a habit. In “Is Liking Contagious?” Mathias Eckström actually points out that people are more likely to like (pun not intended), if it the posting was previously liked by people known to the user. The effect is even stronger if a posting has already got a high number of likes. Clearly these are not the only factors of why we like things.
As far as I can tell, people usually like something for the following reasons:
- They agree with what is being said
- They find it funny
- They appreciate it in some way
- They are a fan
- They simply acknowledge that they saw the posting
That being said it is still questionable if the stated above is capable of expressing its meaning. Take this example: I agree with my friend saying that yesterday’s football game was disappointing, but I obviously don’t like that it was. So I am agreeing, but I’m not saying I like it. I am sure you can think of similar examples where it is unclear, confusing or inappropriate to like something.
Losing the ability to put things into words
Have we lost the ability of writing? I don’t think so. We have simply adapted to the fast pace of life. It is more convenient to just click a like button than to comment and express your feelings into words. It is not that we don’t know how to put things into words, but that we simply don’t take ourselves enough time. Words take time, but they are worth it.
If you think about it, a written comment is way more personal than a simple like. It shows that you have given yourself some thought and how you feel about this post. I’m not saying people should start dropping paragraphs expressing their emotions on every Facebook post now. But even short words such as “Brilliant!” or “Amazing!” can convey a complete different meaning than a simple “Like”.
The 40-day-challenge: No more liking for the love of writing
What are the rules?
You are not allowed to click the like-button on Facebook, Instagram, (pick your platform) from today until Easter (April 13th, 2014). Instead comment and write what you like about this particular post.
What is going happen?
Over the next 40 days Facebook will experience a rapid decrease in likes causing it to change its commenting system. Very unlikely. The changes that you will experience will take place inside yourself. You might drop a couple of nice lines on a picture of a friend. You might find yourself wondering why you like a certain video showing a cat running into a mirror. You might ask yourself how you can contribute to something or help somebody. Or you might do nothing. No like and no comment. The idea is simply to give yourself some time to reflect. Reflect on the many updates you are being confronted to 24/7.
What happens if I screw up and like something?
If you like something you have to write that person a poem (at least 6 lines long). Also if you see me liking any post until Easter, let me know and I will write a poem dedicated to you.
Are you down?
Let me know if you are up for the challenge, so I can expand my poetry collection. The challenge starts now, so don’t you dare to like this post, unless of course you want to write me a poem!