Now, people can barely be bothered to click "Like."
We don't have time to appreciate things. There is no nuance or complexity in our praise. It's thumbs up or nothing. Can't we at least have a "Don't Like" button?
No, we can't. The reason is that "Don't Like" has no value in the selling of advertising.
As "Like" replaces other expressions of opinion. You can either endorse advertised products and other content, or shut the hell up. The whole spectrum of opinion below "Like" is lumped together: "Hate," "Don't Care" and everything in between is treated the same -- with invisibility and irrelevance.
The one-dimensionality of "Like" creates awkwardness, too, as people sometimes use the button to express one feeling, but end up expressing another. For example, let's say the New York Times writes an obituary about some famous person. I might click "Like" as a way to honor the person's life and spread the word about his passing. But on my Facebook Wall, it will say: "Joe Schmo Is Dead (Mike Elgan Likes this)".
Facebook has more recently rolled out a "Send" button program, which works like other send buttons online -- except it delivers the e-mail to recipients' Facebook Messages inbox -- and also contributes to the tally of "Likes" for that item. So it's really just a "Like" button that delivers. It sucks content from outside the Facebook garden walls to inside, but in two ways instead of one.
The "Like" concept, which began only a year ago as a nice idea, is now growing into the Mother of All Marketing Programs, enabling Facebook to reach out across the Internet and suck people back into Facebook. And all this happened in just one year. What will this monster turn into in the coming year?
ALSO SEE: Tech Comics: "Facebook Friends"