Wednesday, 28 November 2012


For a long time, I resisted the Facebook LIKE button. To me, it was an avatar of everything I hated about Facebook -  this lazy, de-personalized, systematized social relation. If you REALLY like something, you can afford to write two, three words…maybe even an ENTIRE SENTENCE! Right? Just like txt-speek leaking into the internet, I found the like an abhorrent phenomenon. Is it that hard to express yourself? Is it that difficult to write “to be honest” instead of “tbh” or “talk to ya later” instead of “ttyl”? Let’s be honest – you’re not in a rush there. You’re not texting and trying to save credit, or writing on the fly. You’re seating your fat ass in front of your PC and procrastinating. Is it that tedious to write up a full sentence instead of a slew of acronyms? Can it be that laborious to write “I love the chorus of that song!” instead of clicking LIKE.?

This means: I find it really hard to express my enjoyment textually

 Needless to say, while I held on for long, I now click like just like anyone else. I still feel a pang of guilt when I don’t write something more but most of the time – I simply cannot be bothered. And there is the key.

If observed from a far enough vantage point, the internet is evolving to a position of distancing. I’ve mentioned before how using social networks, and the internet in general, leads to living in a entirely different social stratosphere. The rules are all different, the etiquette askew – Put a smiley, or you will appear angry, don’t use caps or it will seem like you are shouting, don’t like funeral posts (or do?), send birthday wishes to people you barely know….the list goes on. Twitter has the hashtag and the 140 character limit - what better way to funnel communication into a junk food format? Let us not even go into the abbreviation LOL (laugh out loud, for all you cavemen). I've heard people SAYING LOL in REAL LIFE. As in in my face, not ironically. Do you realize how paradoxical that is? You are SAYING a ABBREVIATION of the sentence LAUGH OUT LOUD. If you use LOL in any manner, ask yourself - when is the last time you've used LOL while ACTUALLY LAUGHING OUT LOUD? Yes, I realize I'm not exactly re-inventing the wheel here - the LOL silliness has been documented even in its early days. But it's the bizarre nature of these internet communication rules and regulations that leave an impression.

    You don't see it, but this man is laughing out loud so hard,  that clock might fall off soon.

What’s startling to me about this phenomenon is that if one analyses it further you will notice its rituals and traits are actually tools for social distancing. This is why people rant endlessly about how computers will make you asocial – because they make you a different KIND of social. A lazy, speedy kind of social.

All these traits of the “new internet” social relations are built to take social responsibility from you, to make it as easy as possible NOT to communicate with someone. Like weapons – the evolution of weaponry consisted of moving the killer as far away from the victim as possible: first a stone, then a knife, then a sword, then a bow, then a gun, then a missile. The same goes for social relation in the 21st century – its about being social but having as little possible contact with another human as possible.


You don’t NEED to write why you like something, it’s a waste of time and it demands conversation – and we don’t want conversation. We just want the other person to acknowledge that you find whatever they have shared valuable.  This is also key – eliminating the need for reproach.  With Facebook you can now congratulate someone for something WITHOUT EVER NEEDING TO TALK TO THEM. Until this, the only option was to SMS them – but that implied specific contact, almost like sending someone a personal message in their inbox. It calls for an answer, re-approach. If it is, however, on someones public page, this response is not necessary. There is no NEED for additional communication – I understand you don’t want to talk to me any more, and you understand I don’t want to talk to you. It’s like that friend you meet on the street and you agree to have coffee sometimes, knowing full well neither of you will ever heed that call. Except now it’s for everyone.

Very soon there will be an internet “protocol”, if you will, for almost every kind of social exchange. You will write Cto (check this out), followed by a link. People will like it. You’ll receive an invite for an event which you will decline, clicking on a “I’l be busy that day” button that automatically responds to the invite with that sentence. You’ll arrange stuff over Skype, with smileys at the end of every sentence because hell, you don’t wanna offend anybody! The sentences will be short, and anything longer (probably copy-pasted) will be written off with a tl:dr (too long, didn’t read). If you need to work with someone, on something, it’s better done via Skype chat or Google docs – that way you don’t actually have to TALK to the person, you can just hurl ideas at each other and conclude them with acronyms (GJ!). Finally, you’re going to see a video or two that you really enjoy, and like it on Youtube. You wont be bothered to actually write why you like it, the top comment is already a witty, short version of what you want to say – so you like that too. Gj! The less human contact, the better. Because who has time for that shit anyway?


  1. LIKE although tl;dr

    Ajd' kao sad, da te ispoštujem. Realno na tragu si nečeg, ali si zanemario činjenicu da je količina informacija na netu tolika da ljudi ne mogu više da priušte pa čak i da pročitaju ovako dugačak članak. Danas je attention span vrlo kratak kao posledica hugemonguos količine informacija, tako da i to amorfno i mikronsko kliktanje "lajka" veoma znači u konkurenciji sa drugima i drugim sadržajem.

    Ali za korišćenje skraćenica u govoru... turu-ru-ru-ru-ruuu (možda ih i sam koristim). Više mislim da je u pitanju pomodarstvo, ali ima i toga o čemu si pričao.

  2. Da se razumemo - LIKE je jako korisna stvar,ali problem je shto zbog te kolichine informacija koje si pomenuo, drushtveni odnosi ispashtaju.

    Da bi lakshe konzumirao te masne hamburgere informacija vecina interneta se, po pravilima usability and user friendliness, trudi da svede kontakt sa ljudima na goli minimum, kao automatizovani tele operater nekad...

    A skracenice....ja sam odoleo svim osim BRB koji koristim kada su mi masni prsti ili mi je zagorela hrana ili OBA xD

  3. LIKE je abominacija sam po sebi. Ako mi neko lajkuje status i onda ne komentarise, popizdim. Sta je jebeno lajkovao? Cemu uopste like? Ja uvek prokomentarisem.

  4. Neko je skrenuo paznju da je lajk kao klimanje glavom, ali ljudi ne komuniciraju samo klimanjem glavom, zar ne?

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