Way back in 1984 actress Sally Field's Oscar acceptance speech for the film Places in the Heart is remembered as "You like me; you really, really liked me." Akin to many misquotes over the years (like James Cagney's "You dirty rat"), the actual quotation was "...you like me, right now, you like me!" Either way, there was an awful lot of liking going on, and it had nothing to do with Facebook (considering Mark Zuckerberg was born during that year).
Which brings me to the modern concept of "like" in the way it is connected to Facebook. I hear "like us on Facebook" or "like me on Facebook" again and again. Why is it that so many people crave the vicarious thrill of seeing that little thumbs up icon on their screen? What does it actually mean to "be liked" on Facebook?
Truthfully, I have "liked" some things I have seen from family and friends. If a particularly poignant post is up there, I'll hit that thumbs up with no problem; however, when the local deli has a sign in its window that says "Like us on Facebook," I'm starting to wonder about the whole thing. To actually "like" this store I have to go out of my way to do it online. Why in the world, even if they have a great chicken salad sandwich, would I do that?
How far will this need to "like" or be liked go? Will we start getting bumper stickers and ask other drivers to "like" our driving? Perhaps we should be expected to "like" our dentists, doctors, our children's teachers, and our neighbor's dogs. I am not sure how far we can take this concept, but when I see a panhandler on Fifth Avenue near Bryant Park who has a sign that reads "Like Me on Facebook" poised above his tin cup, I have to believe this thing is out of control.