Even though, like so many others who inhabit the internet, I make use of the ‘Like’ function, whether here in the blogosphere or on social media sites such as Facebook, there is a fundamental problem with doing so. What is it? See if you can guess before reaching the end of this post.
The Oxford English Dictionary has several definitions of the word Like. Here are just four:-
1. Having the same characteristics or qualities as; similar to
2. In the manner of; in the same way or to the same degree as
3. Used with reference to a person or thing of the same kind as another: the quotations could be arranged to put like with like | I know him—him and his like. (the like) a thing or things of the same kind (often used to express surprise or for emphasis): did you ever hear the like? | a church interior the like of which he had never seen before.
4. Find agreeable, enjoyable, or satisfactory: all his classmates liked him | [with present participle] people who don’t like reading books | [with infinitive] I like to be the centre of attention.
Quite obviously the last is the definition predominently in use anywhere on the internet. But once again, what’s the point of using it? How many times have you clicked on the ‘Like’ icon purely out of habit, without bothering to read the post it is attached to? How many times have you ‘Liked’ something like a promotional post about a new book, then never followed through by buying a copy of the book to support the author? None of these actions make any kind of sense to me or any other sane person.
Then there is the way the word is misused these days by the young. What do I mean? Starting a sentence with the word ‘Like’. Or far worse, peppering each sentence they utter with the word. Thank goodness that most internet sites haven’t adopted another of my current pet hates, the equally misused word ‘So’. It’s bad enough that it is now used in conjuction with, or as an alternative for the word Like, to begin a sentence by kids and teenagers. I blame their teachers and parents for allowing them to get away with it.
When people who quite frankly should know better (adults) do the same thing, it positively makes my skin crawl. I’m talking about some well known academics, leading business people, politicians, and most celebrities, all of them in the public eye, along with anyone else you care to name who believes it is acceptable practice. Often these people show their lack of understanding of the specific usage of certain words while being interviewed about something or other concerning their specialist subject. Maybe they think they’re being cool or trendy, appealing to the young. Sorry ladies and gentlemen, all you are doing is showing your ignorance by misusing a word, not to mention proving to the public at large that you are foolish in the extreme.
Now, getting back to using the ‘Like’ option for any post, why can’t you also be allowed to make use of a ‘dislike’ option as well, should you wish to? The idea of giving you only one option is extremely unsatisfactory don’t you think? At least when I ‘Like’ a post, I have the decency to read it first. The same goes for promotional posts about books. In that specific case if I ‘Like’ it, it is an indication to whoever posted it that I purchased a copy. How about the rest of you? Does any of this also apply to the way you use ‘Like’? More to the point, do you even care?