Like On Facebook (And The Collective Psyche)

organ grinderI’ve been back on facebook for six months or so, give or take.  I see that everyone “likes”everything, it’s the culture. Since I tend to go native, I also “like” everything.

But then I come back to this site and there is no “like” on the blog comments.  You get no positive reinforcement.

It seems that people crave this by now.  As far as social media goes, I can trace this back to Xanga, circa 2001, when I first started blogging. You’d post something and people would come by with “eprops”.

It was genius, really. A little golden “e”, fed the ego, which became a monster for many of us.

Xanga was big in its day, but Facebook is enormous. It would be hard to argue the constant “liking” has not had an impact on our collective psyche. Are people addicted to being “liked”?   If so, I don’t see anyway to dial it back.

A dozen years ago, I wrote about being like a jukebox. People would put quarters in (eprops) and I would play a song, or write a story, which is what I was doing back then. I was a busker and I still am.

But is everyone a busker? I don’t think so.  “Likes” don’t pay the bills.So when you think about how much energy is put into procuring them; and when you consider that energy is limited (Saturn in Scorpio), you’ve got to wonder what’s being starved, or lying dormant an undeveloped.

Do you feel that the Facebook “like” has impacted the collective psyche?


Like On Facebook (And The Collective Psyche) — 41 Comments

  1. I hear this, a lot. “He/She liked me on facebook…”

    It doesn’t seem to mean much, but people ascribe meaning to it anyway.

    Did he/she help you pay your rent?

    These things run through my head, which I admit, may be disturbed. 🙂

  2. I could give less of a crap if anyone ‘Likes’ what I say but that’s probably a me thing. I’m in it for truth not kudos.

  3. I believe that for many people the Kudos and likes are very important to them it feeds their need so to speak. I myself could care less but I’m on Facebook mostly to keep in touch with friends from High School, friends in general and family as most of us are spread across the globe. I love the art and pictures others posts could do with out the negative stuff get plenty of the from other media forms. Even my siblings though they are close it is a way to keep fairly close and in touch.

  4. I read a study years ago about how the internet in general made everyone co-dependant. If we can’t get stroked here, or there, we go elsewhere. Instantly. Facebook just put it all in one spot. What I have noticed is that “you can’t always get what you want” there. My feeds have articles come and go. They may or may not be on folks pages. If I view them- ie actually read it, and don’t instantly share it, I may never see it again! There’s no better way to brainwash people then to give them what they want PART of the time.

    When you add in the actual CONFESSION of FB putting ONLY negative contents in the feed to see if they could depress the majority- you’ve got some pretty nepharius activity!

    But for the moment, it’s this “wave”. Thanks for the question!

    • “When you add in the actual CONFESSION of FB putting ONLY negative contents in the feed to see if they could depress the majority- you’ve got some pretty nepharius activity!”

      I think that happened to me before the last Presidential election. I took my real account down because I was starting to despise people I had been friends with for 30 years or more. I have a fake account now that I check every few weeks.

  5. Yes, definitely. But it isn’t all bad. The “thank” option on Elsa Elsa is a lot like it. Many times I will be grateful for someone’s post who said what I was feeling, but said it better than I could. The approval thing is dangerous though. It tends to make people look for acceptance outside themselves, which is ultimately disempowering. Proceed with caution, ha ha.

  6. To me, “like” means “right on” or “you betcha” or “ni-i-i-ice”. I wish your site had likes, for times when I have nothing meaningful to add to the conversation but want to show appreciation.

  7. LinkedIn has a feature where you can “endorse” a person’s skills or expertise. All you do is click a button. Yeah, she knows “art” “marketing”, whatever….it’s kind of shallow and bogus. Doesn’t mean a thing…less than a reference letter.

  8. I was on Xanga! I went through to two different usernames, but I don’t remember if we ever crossed paths.

    Anyway, I think positive reinforcement is always a good thing. These days, because of the internet, we often want it NOW. And we kind of generally suck at waiting. But I think that at our core, everyone wants to feel valued. In a small way, the likes (and once upon a time, the eprops) are a method of establishing that. I think that feeds into our need (generally speaking) for praise.

    But as you said, being “liked” doesn’t pay the rent.

  9. I am old school and not on Facebook for a lot of reasons namely privacy. My natal Uranus is my 12th house (not sure if that has anything to do with it) but I don’t feel comfortable with conformity. At the same time, with Leo and asc Libra I love approval and being asked for my opinion. So there you go, 2 opposing types of behavior that I must integrate! I would get totally addicted to the ‘likes’ so perhaps that why I stay away!

  10. Alls I know is that there is an awful lot of character assassination going on. Alot of finger pointing. Neurological studies have shown that folks are more attracted to negative stimulus. The good news is that the mind can be re-wired to the positive attraction. If ‘likes’ make someone feel special for a moment, I guess that’s okay. And I think likes are important, not just on face book. It’s more the reactions to dislikes that set my teeth on edge.
    I’ve been noticing on these temp assignments that greasin the hierarchy is much more important than doing the job. But what do I know. Pluto is in opposition to my moon. And with all this cardinal energy going on, everybody seems to be telling me how great they are. And how stupid other people are. The like dislike thing probably has aided the proliferation of the 2 sides mind set. I’ll take mine gray.

  11. i don’t give likes anymore. i limit myself to comments. sort of an attempt to give feedback with depth. and forces me to think a little more about my interactions…

    • This doesn’t surprise me. I think people will tire of it, eventually.

      You can put a “like” thing on a wordpress site (like this one), but I’ve opted not to. It’s the popularity contest element that I don’t want to encourage.

      Interesting people are often unpopular…and I want interesting people leaving comments! 🙂

  12. Again it comes down to business. it’s Facebook not Friendsbook, and as a wise music journo friend of mine said ‘Facebook is a marketing platform and everyone puts their best self forward’. True. But. When my best friend died suddenly last year it was a godsend and I am now connected to his family I had never met, in ways that are amazing, and all in spite of his paranoia about social media. How ironic, in shock after his death I posted a recent picture along with his name! It didn’t seem to matter once he wasn’t here. So he lives forever on Facebook.

  13. Thank you, Elsa, for stating the obvious about Facebook.
    I’ve always hating the inanity of Facebook.
    I will never have an account with it.
    It’s a vast time-suck, that keeps people under the impression that they are ‘busy doing things’, when they engage in it, when really they’re not doing anything of significance.
    Nothing against connecting with people, but spending vast amounts of time in the social-media haze is a lot of time lost pushing buttons to type text, when a REAL conversation in real time is more engaging, fulfilling.
    [Oh, wait, but then you won’t have a ‘paper-trail’ of your words for the newspapers!!!…]
    And, like all computer games, pushing buttons gives people a false sense of power. [Genius abuse of psychology on the part of their inventors to procure money from the ‘sheeple’.]
    Meanwhile, billions-of-years-old ice melts at the poles as we continue to pour vast amounts of Earth’s resources into providing the energy to RUN such data machines, not to mention re-buying yet another new ‘smart-phone’ each year, to ‘keep pace’ with ‘technology’.
    For people AND the planet.
    What Facebook & social media fuels is a voyeuristic populace that wants to feel they have a life of a ‘movie star’, a life under observation, a false sense of significance derived from the ‘eyes’ of another.
    The sadder part, is that the vast majority don’t realize that by using it, and posting all their pictures and info, they are creating a mega-database for all our governments (supplied for free to them but at high cost to the consumer, both in money & time wasted in order to post the info in the first place).
    So they have their wish & more… a surveillance society!
    Studies are only now emerging about the social anxiety such social media madness creates.
    Human interaction is best in the real world, not a virtual one.
    As you so aptly write, ” ‘Likes’ don’t pay the bills.”
    Thank you, Elsa.

    This is my rant.

  14. I “like” things, articles, sayings and pics , especially when it is something I would say or am glad someone else has said..wish there was a like button here..I’m not always verbose…Pisces mercury…
    sometimes I can talk a blue sterak and others times I just want to nod.

    • LOL. Mercury is heading back over my neptune. I’m feelin it already. I just don’t know what to say so more often than not I opt for saying nothing. You two made my day.

      • Progressed mercury is moving into conjunction with natal Neptune as well. No wonder I am drowning myself in art.
        [Takes moment to applaud site writing artists Elsa and Satori. Bravo!!]

  15. Getting “likes” was like a dog wanting a treat when I first got on Facebook. Someone not wishing me a happy birthday was the worst. Ridiculous, I’m glad I took my real account down.

  16. I have a problem with social networking sites. I just do, I feel like everyone’s profile is an empty little box, that goes along with all the other empty little boxes. People post pictures, like they are putting it up for sale in a store window. It’s seeing others, as the projections that they want you to see. There is no real depth in social networking- it is literally painting your self portrait. What I find disturbing about this, is with technology, so many people are always “tapped in” to this projection that really isn’t even them. Snapping selfies, and snapping pictures of what they eat and posting it on Tumbler. They are in this creepy self inflicted fog, where even when they are interacting and functioning in reality, yet they they are mindlessly living because many of them are so tapped into this “projection” and tapped into this little world they made. The “like” button, says it all. It’s mindlessly liking something of someone else’s without really engaging in it. You can mindlessly like something just for social points in your little fake world.

    That is what the huge difference is between social media networks/blogs. Websites such as face book, twitter, and instagram lack content and depth. It’s people being an image and not a person. Blogs, have depth to them. When I come on to this site, I can interact with people, and its refreshing. You learn, you become aware, you help others, others help you. People interact with each other, on a common interest. This site may not have a “like” button, but there is an option to comment. So in a way, I think when someone comments and responds to a post from someone else, its more fulfilling then seeing a like button. People take the time, to really engage in what someone else is saying. They read it and feel it enough to be able to respond in more words then “like.
    Which is why I don’t waist my time on facebook/twitter/ or tumbler. If I am going to spend my down time by the computer, I spend it expanding my mind. Which is why I love this site 😉 It always makes me think.

  17. ugh the dreaded Facebook… will hush my mouth about most of what i think about it.

    but i do agree that the “like” feature has impacted the collective. everyone (rather i should say most people) rush to post every little thing that their kid does or cat does or dog does, along with informing the world about every little thing that briefly amuses them (“liking” Irish Americans, “liking” the Lego movie, “liking” Iggy Azalea). i’ve known people where it seems that the only reason they do it is to be seen as the coolest, wittiest person on FB, or as having the best/cutest kid, best/cutest cat, etc, i.e. having the most “likes”.

    i don’t know, i do not like Facebook. i have found it is especially bad for marriages (although that topic isn’t being discussed right now).

  18. I am in 2 minds about it always, it is plastic though and people find different ways to be on there. Finding out about animal welfare, dog rescue and rehoming is helping me find a path and start a fundraising business. I agree that the popularity contest us irksome, I have friends I had to relegate to Acquaintances as they are like public figures and every mundane thing they comment on draws 100s of likes. It used to make me feel invisible! Not bothered now. For privacy I think Google is worse, but both will keep pushing back the veil on privacy. I have a youtube channel which I get to moderate and I am learning from you Elsa! So far it’s all very positive but waiting for my first troll!

  19. Selfies is interesting it seems to be very much 20 somethings who are finding out who they are but ambitious, ego hungry and don’t care about going public with their lives. When Google pays teens thousands for youtube gap year videos kind of feel sorry for the knock on popularity contest as just all seems a bit Alice Through the Looking Glass. ‘Is Your Whole Life A Selfie?’ Yup. Am glad I passed on all that!

  20. FB = collective psyche as high school. And, remember, FB began as transition from high school to college; it was first done for incoming Harvard freshmen and took off from there. Evidence that humans (and mostly US humans; FB is a US phenomenon) are in an adolescent stage.

    Don’ think that being stuck in high school peer approval networks is going to get humanity to adulthood.

  21. “I now believe the most dangerous time for a woman with online visibility is the point at which others are seen to be listening, “following”, “liking”, “favoriting”, retweeting. In other words, the point at which her readers have (in the troll’s mind) “drunk the Koolaid”. Apparently, that just can’t be allowed.
    From the hater’s POV, you (the Koolaid server) do not “deserve” that attention. You are “stealing” an audience. From their angry, frustrated point of view, the idea that others listen to you is insanity. From their emotion-fueled view you don’t have readers you have cult followers. That just can’t be allowed.
    You must be stopped. And if they cannot stop you, they can at least ruin your quality of life.”–Kathy Sierra.

    Being “liked” isn’t as good as it sounds.

  22. I unapologetically love social media. FB is all people I know, so it’s convenient and people I care about. Despite distance, I can keep up with their lives. Twitter is awesome; the world is full of hilarious people and whatever is going on I want to comment on, you just search the hashtag and there you go. I follow people I’m interested in, causes or just my hobbies, and it’s fun. And all this stuff is super convenient. I don’t really have selfie-posting narcissists in my feeds so it doesn’t bother me.

  23. Oh and wait a second— for any of us Scorps- you can’t beat social media for its anonymous stalking capabilities!! LOL LOL LOL 😉

  24. Elsa, I was so happy to stumble upon your mailing address on a recent post. I want to “like” you by contributing to your “tip jar,” but since last summer, I have been providing elder care in a location where I do not have a secure connection on which to place a credit card. As the Universe would have it, on the same day I saw your postal option, I saw an essay by Charles Eisenstein (author of the book, SACRED ECONOMICS). In his essay, posted for FREE on line, and titled “For Facebook, A Modest Proposal,” Eisenstein writes, “As artists, musicians, content providers [like Elsa & Satori] and software companies are discovering, increasingly, we cannot COMPEL our customers to pay. We can instead rely on their feelings of gratitude and fairness; we can rely on their DESIRE to pay, their desire to give something in return for what they have received.” Elsa, do watch your PO Box for a small token of my gratitude. Your wit & wisdom are helping me through a rough patch. PS: Fellow readers can web-search Charles Eisenstein for more FREE wit & wisdom from a different, but also lofty perspective.

    • Please don’t send anything to that PO Box. The address is no good – I am moving…sorry! You can send a gift card on Amazon though. 🙂

      Thank you!

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