So a while ago I titled a post “IMPORTANT! MUST READ!” to see if it got increased response. And it did. A LOT… I have to admit, that made me pretty happy. Which in turn spawned a post that has little to do with writing until the very end.
To begin, “likes” feel good.
They’re not a very big commitment, either. I’m not extorting you to buy some shady product when you press the “like” button. (By the way, I’m extending the Facebook term “like” to cover the whole gamut of social media’s positive expressions.)
They–likes–have become the axis upon which all of social media turns, for good or bad, because of their effectiveness.
It seems to me that there are two ways to use social media:
1) to actually keep in touch with a friend/invite folks to your dog’s birthday party
2) to editorialize your life
Some would criticize this binary approach, and to them I’ll just cite homo sapien sapien‘s bilateral symmetry and move on. Point one (1) is pretty dang cool, albeit limited, because honestly, you can only have so many friends. But because of the functionality of social media, you are allowed to have many “friends/subscribers/followers” and this is where the Quest for the Holy Like begins!
Dear n00b social media adventurer, the lands of Facebook are plagued with bad videos and oversharing. It is your solemn duty to post something funny, witty, and concise, and acquire 10 likes. Good luck.
I imagine the above as a sort of teeth-cutting. 10 likes isn’t a ton, but at the same time it represents a cool phenomenon–ten people took 3.2 seconds out of their day to glance at your post and press a button. And that’s the kinda cool, even if it is a very minimum action. Just think: some of those people might have actually read your post!
Ah! I see you’ve vanquished LAD Bible… well done! Now write something snide that touches on a deeper societal truth and acquire 50 likes. This, adventurer, is your quest. (You must read this in John Cleese’s voice, or go back two spaces!)
Now the quest continues, and I don’t think that anyone could argue that likes might be construed as a negative thing. In fact, whenever I put anything on social media (which isn’t strictly sharing a funny thing with my friends) I feel like I’m playing the lottery. Maybe I’ll hit the publicity jackpot! Maybe the next quest will be for 2 million likes.
In an age where the most random of things becomes viral, the jackpot of likes is a driving force behind the editorialization of people’s lives, that is, point two (2). Why share that sort of thing unless you want “friends” to “like” it?
Now, this might sound like a criticism of social media, but it isn’t. I’d love for my book to go viral. “Likes” are what authors seek, not just on social media, but through reviews, book sharing, that sort of thing.
Chasing the like is okay, as long as you remember why you’re doing it in the first place. I want to share and sell my novel, but I like reminding myself why I wrote it in the first place. What about you?