Anxious to maintain transparency after its much-ballyhooed initial public offering, Facebook has announced that its long-standing 'Like' button will be replaced with the more candid 'Love I Never Got From My Parents' button.
"We all know what it is to check your Facebook status six, seven, eight times an hour to see if anyone has clicked 'like' to demonstrate how much your funny or insightful post has enriched their lives," a company spokesperson told this reporter. "We at Facebook understand that it's not that big a leap from this sort of desperate need for approval to realizing that you are expecting your imaginary Internet friends to fill the gaping hole of inadequacy you have felt since childhood."
"Oh, totally," said Michigan-area Facebook user Chris Marker. "Last week I linked to this incredibly inspiring video of a guy who overcame a life-threatening illness to create hyper-realistic oil paintings while balancing on the wing of a single-engine aircraft. It was my way of telling the world, you know, how can we complain about our own misfortunes when this man can create such beauty? I was nakedly revealing the depths of compassion within my soul, and I didn't get a single like."
Marker went on to admit that such occurrences were common in his emotionally stunted youth, when he would often share his opinions and passions with parents who would either mock him through an alcohol-induced stupor or simply destroy his construction paper collages.
"Now," he concluded, "if my Facebook friends had the option of indicating that my cloying, maudlin post seemed to them a pitiful cry for help by clicking the new 'Love I Never Got From My Parents' button, I might not have taken up the full 50 minutes of that week's therapy session trying to come to terms with why my outpourings of emotion fall on deaf ears."
Marker is not the only user who is very glad that Facebook's new feature will mean increased opportunity for openness and honesty in cyberspace. Shelly Walker, a college student in Massachusetts, says she cannot believe the new button has taken so long to supersede its older relative.
"I'm proud of being able to show everyone that I am supplying something they missed out on as a kid," Walker says, going on to comment about the misplaced and often disproportionate affection from which she benefits thanks to social networking. "I mean, I didn't think anyone would give a crap about a picture of this vase I bought at a yard sale, or the night I updated my status from the restaurant every time a new course arrived at the table, but Jesus they both got, like, 65 likes! If that's not a bunch of fellow co-dependent lunatics giving me the love I never got from my parents, I don't know what is."
And the trend may spread to other Internet arenas. Some influential bloggers are reporting that Twitter will soon change the name of its popular retweet feature to 'They Were All Wrong About You.' This rumor has yet to be substantiated. Or favorited, for that matter.
James Napoli is an author and humorist. More of his comedy content for the web can be found here.