I don't like "Like." In fact, I hate it. Well, that's a little strong-implying -- I really do have some push-pull feelings about it. So let's just say I disdain "Like." Enormously.
I can understand that likely "liking" something on the Internet started as a code -- a short-cut to recommend something you found interesting to your friends.
Of course these are those "Friends" you've never met. The ones you seem to have a million of if you have a Facebook page. Of course they're never around, or even at the end of the phone line when you really need a friend. Yet, you have 11,857 of them and you announce that with pride.
For me this "Like" code has become a popularity contest. As in, do you "like me?" Every time I see a "Like" button it reminds me of every single day I spent in high school. Three years of just plugging away so I could get away to a place, a life where I could put all the cliques and "in crowders" behind me.
I knew when I finally got out of high school I would walk into my adult life where people wouldn't be so shallow. Hmmm... I'm almost certain there's a "Like" button somewhere on this page. Please don't press it, well... maybe...
Just by offering people the option to "Like" something, aren't we also saying that those things that don't get "Liked" aren't? If you or whatever you're selling aren't "Liked" then by omission you certainly seem "Not Liked!" Surely someone must have liked you or whatever you're pushing, but they were too lazy to hit the "Like" button and tell the world. But, can you convince anyone of that? Hardly. Not when that "Like" button is right there just waiting to be clicked, tapped, touched.
The nature of contests is to have a winner, one winner. By virtue of that we end up with lots of losers. Like the four actresses (or actors of course) who got all gussied up, had a one-of-a-kind couture dress sewn and beaded for them, wrote an acceptance speech and didn't win the Oscar, the Emmy, the Tony, the Country Music Award -- not even the hope of becoming the next up-and-coming big thing. Losers all, they probably weren't allowed into the swanky after-parties. See, high school all over again.
How about the athletes who jet off to the Olympics all smiles and top of their game? After devoting their entire lives to their sport, hundreds will win "only" the silver or the bronze medal. Don't tell me they don't feel like losers because they didn't get the gold. What about the athletes who come in 12th or 37th? Instant pond scrum while among the top athletes in their sport in the world!
Somehow I see this all as a subtle form of bullying. An innocuous and innocent gesture that somehow went badly wrong. I especially feel this way on days when no one asks if they can "Link In" with me.
So if I don't "Like" you, please don't take it personally. It doesn't mean I don't like you. It just means I'm morally against picking favorites because I know all too well what it feels like not to be picked. Yes, I got out of high school almost 40 years ago, but apparently it hasn't quite gotten out of me.
Still, I hope if you see me on the street you'll say "hello" because there's little I like better than having a real conversation with a real person. Unfortunately, you can't indicate that when you hit a "Like" button.
Riva is the author of "50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life and the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It" and "The ABC's Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes." Visit her website DiabetesStories.com.