Whenever Facebook introduces changes, people invariably complain. At the risk, however, of causing major consternation in the social networking world, I would like to suggest a much-needed innovation. Something needs to be done about the "Like" button.
As Facebookers know, when responding to someone's status or other postings, you currently have the option to leave a comment or, if you want to acknowledge the post without making the effort to write actual sentences, you can simply "Like" the entry. This involves the highly complex procedure of clicking a button labeled "Like." Interestingly, on Facebook, "Liking" is an active process: Once you "Like" something, the "Like" button changes to "Unlike," suggesting that, while you may instantly forget whatever it is you've just "Liked," you do, in some sense, continue "Liking" it indefinitely, as if in some remote corner of your subconscious, you continuously appreciate the fact that, say, your friend had a delicious dinner with Ralph and the kids.
Maybe you do.
At any rate, a problem arises when you wish to acknowledge a posting, a comment, a status update--when silence seems callous--and you don't really have anything to SAY about the post--words are superfluous--but somehow "Liking" seems inappropriate or insufficient. Currently, you have no other options.
Twenty-three years ago today Libyan terrorists planted a bomb on Pan Am flight 103. The plane blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing everyone onboard as well as several people on the ground. Thirty-five passengers on the flight were students from Syracuse University, including several friends and acquaintances of mine. As you might imagine, several of my Facebook friends, also from Syracuse, have posted memorial comments on their walls today. And I have nothing to add.
So I "Liked" the posts. What else could I do?
Now I'm not suggesting that Facebook should--or even could--add buttons to express every possible emotional reaction to a friend's piece of news, much less to express the complex emotions one feels when confronted with important reminders of somber occasions. But an "Agree" button would be a welcome addition. Or even just a simple "Yes."
As for those people on Pan Am 103, especially Theo and Miriam, let me just say for now and always, "Like."