This is my response for the No, Thank You prompt for the Daily Post of August 26, 2015.
Okay, a disclaimer to begin. I am not against this four letter word in its original context. I agree with the concept of telling someone that I like the way they do something or the way they look. I even can stomach the implication that it “looks” like rain. But this poor four letter word is one of the most abused in our hallowed dictionary.
So, who are the devious culprits at work here? One has the surname of Zuckerburg. The other is not a solitary who, but rather legions of young ones from age 12 to 22. Yes I am talking about the teen population that cannot complete a sentence without invoking this four letter word any number of times.
So, Mr. Z first. On the surface, liking someone’s offering on Facebook is a great idea. I mean everyone likes a little encouragement or validation, I get that. But when someone posts an announcement about a death or some other tragedy and I see this avalanche of likes it rubs me wrong. I mean, come on Facebook programmers, are you telling us you cannot add a toggle where the Like button is to allow for a more pertinent response?
I guess I can get past the Facebook misuse of the word, since after this many years there is not a groundswell behind me to have Facebook change its advance. But this teenage revolution in the wrong direction may be our bigger concern. The art of conversation is something we develop as children and through the years we should try to develop into a strength. Every inter action we have with others allows us to sharpen this life tool. The dulling of this by using the word like as a lazy modifier is horrifying to me.
I used to drive a school bus for a short period during one of my different seasons of my life. One morning I challenge this particular teenaged girl to say four sentences without using the word like. She could not do it. For thirty minutes she struggled to meet my challenge. During the school day this remained on her mind and later that afternoon she came back on the bus and managed four ragged, short sentences. While I have no misconception I made an impact in her life, perhaps for a few moments she saw my point.
Again, I am not against the concept of telling someone what I approve of or when something strikes me positive. I just want this particular four letter word to get a bit more respect.