After a post on the language of silence, I am now ready to discuss a new language . If you are wondering what this is all about, then you are definitely not a facebook user! 

Facebook ( for the uninitiated) has an option that is called “LIKE”. And strangely, the opposite of this word is not “DISLIKE” but “ UNLIKE”!  I wonder what Wren and Martin would have to say about this! 
Now let us get to discussing the use of this four letter word ( oops!!), When does a person hit the “LIKE” button?

From my observations I can think of  the following few categories  “LIKE”  usage

Category 1  :Those who just mechanically tick this option. I am told it is supposed to mean “ I have read your post” or “ I acknowledge what you have written” . But again, it could well mean “ Hey I was here. I logged on to FB today!”  Such  random acts often result in people “liking” messages about someone’s death / illness or  unhappiness! 

Category 2 : Now this is the  group of people who in Hindi are called “Chamchas” !! They follow their boss around on Facebook, hitting “like” on every post s/he writes.  This is a very competitive group. You see, there may be at least four or five in a team who might be doing this. So  it all depends on how quickly one hits the “like” button. If you happen to  have a phone like mine.. you will never get your boss’s attention on social media! Your thumb could well be bruised but that “like” icon would refuse to come on. I have often wondered if  bosses are noticing and rewarding this behavior? But then what is the harm in trying? 

Category 3 : This an extension of Category 2. Here, one is not impressing the boss but someone else- your object of desire! If you spot someone  whose attention you want , keep hitting “like” on everything s/he posts. Ultimately  you will be rewarded with a like on your posts .. and if you are lucky, it could help you take the relationship to the next level. This option works well if  one is using it on photographs.  It is equivalent to telling the person “ Oh you look so nice” ( tells the person you are a man/ woman of subtlety. You know, not brash) .  

Category 4 : This is a unique category. It is only applicable to profile pictures. The moment you change your profile picture, everyone on your friend list hits “like” – never mind that the changed photograph may not be an improvement on the previous one. People have begun to expect it.  If you give a frank opinion on a photograph (even in a private message) they get upset. So the moral of the story here is – If you can’t “like”  then  shut up!

Category 5 : This is a category of people like me who don’t like their inboxes being cluttered with notifications from unknown people.  Let me explain.  There are some people who you do not know very well. In case you leave a casual comment  on something that you have seen on their wall, you will be likely to have notifications in your in box from people you hardly know! I use this option when I am unable to find the “ stop notification”/ “ untag “ option against the post. 

Category 6 : This is a complicated category. It  consists of those engaged in  playing what I call "mind games" . It is particularly effective  if you are a chronic “like” user. For e.g  If you are annoyed with someone,  you stop hitting “like”  to make your annoyance known. And if you want to take the hostility to the next level, you wait for this person ( yes the one you are annoyed with) to  have a debate / discussion on some  topic with another person ( who may or may not be on your friend list). You hit “ like”  for everything that the other person says and completely ignore this pest you are annoyed with.  But this kind of pigheadedness ( there is no other word for it) is not without its social dangers. It  can actually make you hit “like” for many things you may not even like or subscribe to ( porn, voyeurism, pedophilia, etc being some examples). We sometimes forget that the virtual world is not exactly our living room with just  the debaters and one spectator. There are others who are watching and forming opinions about us based on what we write or click!

Category 7 : This is the category that a large number of “like” users probably belong to. They are a sub group in Category 1. They are people with no opinions about anything. Sometimes they might have opinions but might not have the confidence to express them publicly. It is also possible that they might not be interested in stirring up a controversy by stating what they feel.  So they do what they think is the safest thing  – hit “like”!
Phew…!! When I started out writing this post, I never realized that I would come up with 7 categories. But I like the number 7. My friend tells me that any list with an odd number gets people’s attention. Some psychologist is supposed to have done a study on that..!! 
But odd or even
Whatever be the reason,
Though one can always “like” or “unlike
This “thumbs up” sign  continues to pose a challenge

( PS:  Subsequent to posting a link of this blog on face book a friend suggested two more categories 

Category 8- Those who dose at the computer or are inept at using their mouse properly. So the "LIKE" icon comes in through a slipped mouse

Category 9: Sloshed and using facebook in that condition )


  1. Interesting post. I think majority are in your Category 1.

    One word of caution. if you Liked a story on a website by pressing the Like button you’re not only sharing the content on your wall but you’re also automatically subscribing and giving permission for future newsfeed updates to site owners. This happens every time and anywhere you Like something.

  2. Hmmm.... Sometimes I wish Blogger had a "like" button. I am usually self conscious about any written comment I might post.

    It looks like you got my attention!

  3. Like- denotes, "hey I was here"
    Like denotes- I acknowledged you, don't ask me why, perhaps because you acknowledged me in my post.

    It is American English so pardon them for their interpretation of the meaning of "unlike"

  4. @ Kameshwari, I am honored that I got your attention!!! But you should write. I am sure you have a lot to say.

    @ SG thanks for that info.l was not aware of that

    @ Anil, American English completely baffles me!

  5. I never knew so many variants of 'Like'.I thought Liking means just plain liking.After reading your post I realize there are different motivations behind the simple word 'Like'

  6. @ KP, that is why I have been asking you to open an Facebook account. You will get innumerable story ideas from there for your random thoughts :)!!!

  7. Namaste.....
    Not big on face book, though i frequent it now and again due to family. I do use like to reflect that i do in fact like what've read, seen, observed.

    have a blessed week.

  8. There's also the case where you accidentally like something! That gets awkward. Wren and Martin are probably having a terrible time in their graves or wherever they may be. We're all grammatically doomed these days ;)

  9. and Meera, the worst is a 'thumbs up' on a death notification....and even to like or dislike we have a gang...


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