Now, it seems pretty clear that clicking on a link called Foxes Jumping On My Trampoline will involve seeing foxes jumping on a trampoline. If one has an aversion to foxes and/or trampolines, it stands to reason that one would simply not click on this link in the first place. Nevertheless, at the time of this writing, said video has 576 dislikes.
One of the key reasons for Facebook’s wildfire success is the introduction of the like button—and only a like button. It’s the first time that, on any sort of grand scale, people are being conditioned to seek out what they like. The philosophical implication is, if there’s something you don’t like, just move on. As it should be.
To have preferences is one thing. To prefer is natural; to dislike takes work. Are the 576 aforementioned jumping fox dislikers scouring the city for restaurants they don’t like? Or sifting through Rotten Tomatoes for the worst-rated movies? Maybe looking for traffic jams to join? It’s not natural.
Even in everyday affairs, I now find myself looking for things to like, and moving a little more quickly away from what I don’t. While I can’t say for certain that the advent of the like button has anything to do with this, I rather think it does.
Even a subtle shift toward the positive—especially when it affects hundreds of millions—is a very good thing.
If you do have a propensity to unlike stuff, simply like something on Facebook, wait a few seconds and you’ll see an icon that allows you to unlike it. Problem solved. No one will be the wiser.
Brian Kessler is the creator of oneword.com, a site for writers, creatives, or anyone seeking a little inspiration—or something to like.