Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Coping with a Facebook Likeaholic


Like the crack epidemic that hit the streets of New York in the mid-80's, there is a new and dangerous dependence spreading through Facebook - Liking.  Since April, 2010 Facebook changed its structure to allow its users to 'Like' anything.  And, to some, this new power has taken a hold of their very being causing them to lose all sense of control.  And, to make matters worse, it seems the younger the Facebook user, the more apt they are to abuse liking.  Anything that they see that they find even the slightest bit interesting gets liked.  Soon, like an opiate, the liking takes hold.  They like breathing, they like food, they like air.  They like dogs, they like water, the like hair.  They like cars, they like video games, they like hugs.  They like crackers, computers, hiccups, bugs.  Inevitably, each day you will see more and more likes and there will appear no rock bottom in sight.  The next thing you know, you will see the status update on your News Feed, "Your crack fiending friend likes Not hurting my hand while masturbating and 17,000 other pages".  At that point, you have lost them. 

 It is easy to damn Facebook.  Since it has changed its privacy policies, the world has turned a cold shoulder to the social networking juggernaut.  But, just like you can only put so much blame on the crack dealer, it is in the hands of the user.  And, like any other addiction, the first step is getting the liker to admit that they have a liking problem.  A Facebook intervention needs to take place.  I realize that you will have to stop playing Farmville or Mafia Wars for a few moments to do a Facebook intervention but it is for your Facebook friend.  You need to stop the guy who sat across from you in Physics fifteen years ago from himself.  Perhaps gather other Facebook friends together. 

Don't be threatening.  There can be no yelling, and pointing, and accusing, and saying that he is trapped and surrounded.   Simply explain that spending six hours a day finding anything and everything in the world to 'Like' is not acceptable.  Let them know that it is them that you are looking out for and that liking isn't the answer for their own grief.  Start off by telling them about the good Facebook things that you miss.  Perhaps you miss their status updates about how much they love their significant other/God/job/kid/dog.  Or, their rants about that "sonofabitch" Obama/Bush/Beck/Pelosi.  Let them know that they are spending too much time liking and not enough time sending page requests.  Finally, let them know the consequences and follow through if they refuse to get help for their liking addiction.  If you are willing to hide all of their status updates, that is something that you will have to do.  Even if you have to unfriend them - let them know that there are consequences for their liking.  And, it is always others that get hurt with any addiction.

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