Hello “Want”, Goodbye “Like”: The Book’s Changing Face

I have mixed feelings about the “Like” button on Facebook. Before anyone in my Address Book swoops on me in indignation, yes, yes, I do appreciate its genuine uses. I must confess though, I sometimes hurriedly scroll down the newsfeed and swiftly insert those little skyward thumbs as my only virtual/social interaction of the day.

In my defense: I have conducted a mini survey and found other FB users who see it as a tool of  superficiality. So now it’s your turn. Be honest. Do you really “like” the image of a now dimly recognisable primary school friend with her shark-jawed grinning partner, cheese-tasting on a Swiss mountain top? Or the airbrushed gym-slim, age-defying college friend on a Rio beach, red-eye blurry party pics, the new mother’s daily updates on her baby’s (unchanging) facial expressions?

One has to play the game, I suppose. The Like button doesn’t require a lie detector test. True or false, we can pretend and “Like” away and no one will be any the wiser. That’s because, just as in real life, our FB friends may be insecure and vulnerable, needing to collect their “likes”, scented flower buds forming a giant bouquet, the affection as warm as a hot water bottle.

It is for this purpose that some women past forty dress up and regularly post pictures of themselves on FB for their friends. If thirty-five friends click on the Like button, that’s success. Oh, but what if it’s only two, and one of them is your sister?  Not so good. Some friends even post a massaging comment along with the “Like”: ‘Aw, you look gorgeous/you look just like your teenage daughter/Any recruiting agencies out there looking for a model? Guys, hurry, pick this one!’ )

As for me, I’m too terrified to try those Miss Middle-Aged India poses. Mostly because at my age no lighting is dim enough, but mainly because I wonder what would happen if I posted my trussed-like-a-turkey picture and no one responded. How would that affect my self-esteem?  I might want to howl and rail and rant like Lear in a storm. Is there anyone at all out there who likes me?

People can also be a bit unthinking and trigger-finger-happy with their Likes. The other day a friend wrote she was suffering from a terrible back, and forty-two thumbs flew up. How can anyone Like that? That’s the equivalent of my ringing someone to say, “I’m so happy you are in pain.”

 Fortunately there’s a cure for the insecure just around the corner. Why should we soul-search over too few Likes? Soon the “Want” button will take over social networks for companies to advertise their products. We shall click to “collect”  our purchases through FB. Why depend on “likes” when we know what we “want”? FB is currently running trials with Victoria’s Secret and other retailers. Who needs birthday calendar reminders when we can create a wishlist of products to buy? Facebook said in a statement: ‘People will be able to engage with these collections and share things they are interested in with their friends.’Really? Yay! I feel like singing like a Spice Girl: Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want/So tell me what you want, what you really, really want … I wanna really, really, really wanna zigazig ah

By the way, what exactly is a ‘zigazig ah’, and will it be available to buy on Facebook?

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