Today’s post comes from living and loving correspondent B. Marty Barry. He’s a bottomless well of wellness!
I am quite distraught over the news that Facebook is considering the addition of a “dislike” button to go alongside their already worrisome “like” button on pictures, comments and posts.
If the “dislike” button idea were a Facebook post all by itself in this possible new universe, I would press dislike dislike dislike dislike dislike dislike dislike dislike just to be sure you got the idea that I’m NOT in favor of it.
But would that work? Human emotions are so complicated and single-word communication often falls woefully short of delivering the message. It would be simpler if Facebook created a “distraught” button, which means “so upset you can’t think clearly or behave normally.”
But that’s just my reaction to this particular idea. I’m not always so upset, but to indicate it clearly on Facebook they’d have to add individual buttons for when I’m feeling incensed, perturbed, nettled, vexed, or merely annoyed. And then there are times when I’m just conflicted.
I get what Facebook is trying to do – reduce human communication to a simple menu of quick choices because accurate expression is such hard work, especially when it requires writing! I would push a “conflicted” button a lot!
But that’s the nice thing about language – actual words add precision, even when they’re inexact.
Back when I was a boy, cars started coming out with automatic transmissions that were operated by a series of buttons on the dashboard. Some designer had the bright idea of putting those buttons right in the center of the steering wheel for ease-of-use.
But the center of the steering wheel was already established as the place for one-note communication – the horn honk – which meant at least three things depending on the situation – “Look Out”, “You Idiot” or “Hi Neighbor”!
Of course people are creatures of habit, so they kept mashing the center of the wheel whenever they had one of these three feelings. The result? Ruined transmissions in their new push-button automatic cars.
(That’s not directed personally, but rather, at an idea. Although I’ve never met you, I do care about you very, very, much.)
If you could design a button to do one thing only, what would it do?