Welcome to the very first article from Wellness.Wyndaveres.com!
I am grateful to be here with you as you take your first steps on your path to self discovery, as you explore, question, and reevaluate your ideas and begin your journey to redesigning your mind.
I thought it appropriate to kick start your journey with a deep exploration of the word “like.”
The word like has been a part of the English language since about the 13th Century.
Through it’s evolution…or devolution, it has taken on many meanings.
It has been used as a comparative,as a justification,as a way to express a wealth of emotions and with the birth of social networking ,“like” is now used as a tool as well.
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary,
as a noun verb “like” means:
- to have a preference for. I like coffee. ,and boy do I ever.
As an adjective, “like” comes to mean
- resemble. “You look like someone who is likely to steal my coffee.”
Notice the use of “likely,” adverb, meaning probably.
When used as a verb like becomes:
- agree, enjoy, feel for,want, approve ,or choose.
We further complicate it’s meaning when we use it as slang.
Ya know, that special form of speaking we all did as the “cool” kids or still do because we are still the cool kids.
He looked at me with a grimace when I took his coffee and I was like, “what ever,” as I walked away.
In this form like expresses emotion, usually accompanied by some facial expression to indicate which emotion “like” is representing. Similarly, it means “say” or “said,” as in I was like, “what ever.”
Marketing and social media use “ likes” to gather information by appealing to our humanistic desires to be popular, setting up a formula to produce a numerical rank,not just in social circles but also in search engines.
Jake posts a a picture on his Facebook page. While on his lunch break (because we all know Jake wouldn’t browse Facebook during work hours) he eagerly checks his post to see if anyone out there liked it. Upon logging in he sees that not one, but five people “liked” his image. His brain bursts with excitement as his eyes see the 5 and translate it into a confirmation that Yes, Jake, you are popular, people enjoy your content, and gosh darn it, people like you!
Later that day, Jane a friend of Jake’s, logs into Facebook too. Her page instantly updates revealing all of the happenings of her friends lives. The first thing she reads is Wynd likes this, Jessica likes this, bloggerwitha.com, likes this.
Out of curiosity she clicks the link, seeing that not only do these 3 people but 109 others like Jake’s picture too!
Naturally, to show that she is still one of the cool kids, and we know she is, she clicks the icon and gets the same burst of excitement that Jake got when he first posted the picture early that morning.
She smiles with satisfaction, in knowing that every one of her friends can now see that she also likes Jake’s picture. And that’s EXACTLY what marketers want!
Marketing is designed to appeal to this very basic human desire; to be liked or become popular. What started as just a way to say “hey Jake I like you” now becomes a race in rank appealing to our competitive nature, to not just gain popularity but also rank in the eyes of search engines. The competition leaves a bit of stress in the bellies of many as the desire to be liked becomes a NEED in order for our images, posts, and articles to be seen by Google and by the WORLD. .
Further complicating the situation , like takes on a yet another form as it becomes a tool to get something we want.
We’ve all seen the ads that read,” if you “like” Wal-mart you’ll get the CHANCE to win a 1000$ gift card.”
So, Angie clicks the link in hopes of getting the reward. In exchange, her page now proudly says “Angie Likes Wal-mart!“ It’s not exactly the message Angie wanted to send out to her 4,902 friends, but they are a smart bunch, and they know that Angie simply wants the gift card.
Similar to Angie, I assume that most of you who “like” Wal-mart are not stating that you approve or support the store or it’s company policies but more so, you just want the gift card too.
Your brain processes the information as an if I do this I get this reward, and here the gambling begins. Your hopes raise as you, quite unintentionally, begin to work for the company, acting as a free advertiser as you share the ad, in hopes of getting that reward.
This adds further devolution to like as the very meaning is diminished.
It becomes a tool, announcing untruths; used to get the things we desire.
In effect, leaving the reader in a position of which they can no longer even trust that what you “like” is in fact something you approve of or have a preference for.
Social media leaves a very unclear and sometimes misrepresentation of the “liker’s” use of the tool, and no matter how it is used, whether it is +1, a Digg, a “love” or a “like” the word “Like” itself can not stand alone,without a supportive description to illustrate the intent of it’s meaning.
When I was 19, a young woman in my first semester as an architecture student in Boston, I remember sitting nervously awaiting the instructor to enter the room. Eventually he did.
To my surprise he was a young man, maybe in his late 20’s wearing not a suit or slacks but instead he wore jeans and chucks! This is an architectural school after all, you can’t really expect the rigidity of a business lesson when you are surrounded by eccentric design students. He took his place at the head of the class and after a short introduction, he began our very first lesson, and the start to our journey, Why “What you like means Nothing.”
What you like means nothing UNLESS you have a cause, or in this case a because, that is later questioned with why?
I have included a free worksheet for you to download and use to explore the things you like and start to ask yourself why you like them.
Please continue to part 2 “What You Like Means Nothing -WorkSheet.”
“If you approve of, enjoyed, feel this has made your life better in some way I would be ever so happy if you helped in giving me that small burst of excitement using the G+, like, digg button to show your support as you retweet or “share” this article with anyone who you think will enjoy it.”
Author Wynd Ling
depression, Digg, Facebook, Google, Merriam Webster Dictionary, personal happiness, self help, Social media, Social network, Twitter, wellness