Last week I eavesdropped on two 30-somethings talking about their favourite skiing destinations. When they finally agreed on a snow field in Japan, the guy said, “Oh yes! Big Like! ”
Thank you Facebook, for doing away with hyperbole around the things we love, for flat-lining our great passions and worst fears into one beige syllable.
We need this conflation, don’t we, Mr Z? The sort of pale pleasantness that Zuckers has decided will arbitrarily help us scale down nasty aggression and unbridled positivity.
Well, in line with a current FB meme currently, I am thinking of ‘doing something different’, of laying down ‘new neuronal pathways’, by going to live in Spain or Holland. I’ve dreamed of hanging out in both places while finishing my novel, and now there’s an even stronger incentive to do it: these are the two countries where FB is trialing alternatives to ‘Like’.
I forget the more nuanced expressions that FB mavens are considering, and I don’t know exactly what they’re testing for.
Perhaps they want to know how alternatives to Like are understood in other languages? Will shades of emotion cause confusion? Yes. But confusion of this sort helps make life experience so piercing, so puzzling, so enticing – and so unique to the individual.
I am afraid of hearing more and more people say “Oh, big LIKE!”
I want to hurry to places where you can pick through a cornucopia of synonyms for warm feeling … weakness for example, or soft spot, partiality, bent, leaning, proclivity, inclination, disposition; enjoy, appreciation of, taste for, delight in, relish, passion, zeal, appetite, zest for, enthusiasm for, keenness around, predilection toward, penchant, and in the most beige moments, perhaps simple fondness?
What is wrong with ‘fond’? Such a lovely last-century word? So Scott-Fitzgerald, or even earlier, so Austen, so Elliot. Think Zuckers ever read Austen or Elliot? Possibly. But they clearly didn’t work for him. Because we have ended up at this anodine ‘LIke’.
I can see this young woman and man, clearly attracted, heading off for the incredible, six-meter powders on the Japanese slopes, pumping their funny skiing things and flexing their fine, powerful young bodies along the pistes and chutes and so on (I don’t ski).
They feel the blood powering through their cells, wind chewing their earlobes, the one-off sensations of being young, strong and happy … and, through the fizz of adrenaline and roaring pheromones, they’re yelling to each other: “Oh, like, like, like, like.”