For a culture driven by viral friends, likes and followers, Facebook has finally thrown a wrench in the narcissistic wheel that is social media, by adding the “dislike” button to its status options. While previously we’ve had to assume that if our post didn’t receive a certain number of “likes” then our post had no value, now we’ll know without question if our post was “disliked.” Brace yourself. Rejection of an all new dimension is upon us.
During a Q-and-A session on Tuesday, Sept. 15, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerburg revealed the option for the dislike button has been in the works for awhile after initially being frowned upon. “We discovered that we all have a range of emotions we’d like to express in addition to affirmation, most notably a way to show empathy,” Zukerburg explained. A show of empathy may be a lofty goal for Facebook users, where the most popular videos are ones geared toward mocking the less fortunate and victims of a less than perfect aesthetic. I’m not certain that the new generation understands the definition of empathy.
Statuses on Facebook waiver between pseudo self-help quotes that prove we all watched Rhonda Byrnes, “The Secret,” and self-approved self-portraits peppered among pictures showcasing our material conquests accompanied by quotes like; “Blessed to be working with my favorite celebrities.”; “So thankful for my brand new Maserati”; “Grateful to be fit thick,” complete with a series of hashtags guaranteed to balance out the self-absorbed bragging one would be antagonized for if this was a different period in time. #Blessed #Thankful #Grateful are constantly used as disguises for our braggadocio postings. The only thing that eclipses this is perhaps the number of couples that violently split via statuses, instant messenger and inboxes over old and or inappropriate flames sparking where they should not.
No, empathy will probably not be the first emotion shared with the “dislike” button. For a culture that thrives upon social acceptance by any means necessary, the option to label something as “disliked” could set off a litany of dramatic self-pity filled rants. Still, as with anything you can inflict on someone from behind a computer screen, it will be entertaining to watch.