FB “1 Like” Specialist

Not about Liking your own posts and having no one else do the same.

I have well-connected (liberal with Add Friend button) younger cousins who easily garner hundreds of Likes and the wrath of my silent envy. These are people for whom the inverse relationship between no. of posts and no. of Likes does not apply. I hope they enjoy their teenage glory while it lasts. But of course, my cynicism shall return to bite me, when they turn out to be the next Taylor Swifts and Sam Smiths and I am forced to stubbornly shout out from my one-man saloon and still insatiably show them my thumbs-up, man!

Alright, enough with the melodrama.

I have never been “popular” on social media. Private account I mean, because I’m some way from requiring a Public page. Over-the-top the earlier paragraph may be, I can’t deny the envy. I was often self-indulgent in my sharings, but so are they. Perhaps they share more photos (I rarely do). Perhaps it’s to do with my real-life personality (too loner). But I know that the age of the technology (lived into or born into) and the places they live in (they are Malaysians) play major roles too. I’m not bitter about it.

Having outgrown adolescent impulses, I now post at rather irregular intervals. On a range of topics which hold interest to me. I still post because I want to be accessible to friends I seldom or no longer meet. And over these past few months, I started noticing a trend. About half of the time, I received 1 Like. Looking more closely, I realized that most were given by different people.

I kind of like it this way.

Maybe it sounds like self-comforting. Maybe. But never having been “popular” on Facebook allows me to build my identity in other ways. We all sense the potential problems of being too popular too early. Now, I take pride in sharing my fairly diverse interests. The shifting sources of my Likes assure that I’m not speaking to myself. And because my Likers are few, I can actually pay more attention to who they are and be grateful for their attentions. It feels more personal.

Yes, it is still a kind of performance. The fact that I’m pleased by the Likes. But all social interactions involve selective presentations of our selves. There are always unwritten rules which we play along or play against. The most important, I feel, is not to become so obsessed with self-presentation, that it’s all about me, myself and I. The line between spontaneity and contrivance – blurry as it may be – should not be crossed.

And so I will continue doing what I like. If my Likes grow in future, I hope I won’t forget this simple joy of personal connection.

That technology is what we conceive it to be.

Socio Empath

Hi, my name is Eugene. I am a Sociology graduate from the National University of Singapore. This blog is an invitation: To see our selves as colored by cultures, and to brighten the colors of our society. I seek to help you create freedom in everyday life, with empathy and the sociological imagination.

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