May 9, 2016

I Haven’t “Liked” Anything on Facebook for over a Year. Here’s How it Changed Me.

Thomas Angermann/Flickr

I have not ‘liked’ a single post on Facebook for over a year.

I didn’t realize how addicted I was to it until I refrained from liking any more posts. I didn’t realize how mindless my internet browsing had become.

I read an article about this guy who liked every post and how his Facebook feed changed to reflect his recent likes.

How did what I ‘Like’ shape my internet experience? How much of what Facebook shows me do I really like? A photo of a friend I hadn’t seen in 2 years, someone’s touching story about a life changing event, a snarky letter about yoga, an elephant playing in water—did I really like these things?

Yes! (Who doesn’t like an elephant playing in water?)

It was easy to click the Like button and look at the next thing, but is my life simply touch and go? Double tap and move on.

I thought we logged on to Facebook to connect, not to simply collect likes.

If “Liking” sparks an algorithm that changes what is shown to me on Facebook then mindlessly liking posts, videos and photos will slowly take away control of my thoughts and actions. Mindlessly, I then feed into advertisers and become a consumer—rather than being inclusive, genuine, and real.

I could simply have done away with Facebook all together. I’d already removed the app on my phone and I now only checked it at home, but—that connection factor. I have friends who live exciting lives all over the world and I like to share in their joy and passions.

So I removed liking things and began commenting on posts instead.

That photo of a friend—what did I like about it, what feeling was it evoking? Let me share that with them. I began using my words instead.

A strange thing started to happen, we connected. We bonded over that moment and if only for a moment I wasn’t one of 36 other people who liked a post. I wasn’t lost in the sea of Facebook anymore. They talked to me about what was going on in the photo and life became personal again.

When a friend shared a touching story that made them vulnerable, my heart opened to them too. We became more than a thumbs up hand gesture to each other.

I don’t know how or even if “Liking” a post effects Facebook’s algorithm. I’m sure it does, but regardless, stopping the mindless “Liking” has made my internet practice more mindful.

Being mindful of whose posts made an impact on my life as well as connecting and sharing with them how important they are to me is making my Facebook experience happier.

And I get to see more photos of elephants playing in water and that stupid dog rolling down a hill.


Author: Morgan Lee

Editor: Sarah Kolkka

Images: Thomas Angermann/Flickr


Relephant Video: 

Don’t like this: How We Can Save Journalism by Slowing Down.

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Morgan Lee