Facebook Ultimatums

Facebook, first you insult my levels of social aptitude by implying I’m lonely, and now you’re offering me ultimatums?!? Well guess what, I don’t play by the rules. I don’t even know the rules. I don’t even know what game we’re playing.

Facebook has formed a barrier between me and internet freedom. Standing betwixt me and every climax, preventing my perusal of every punch line, restraining my attempted ascent to the summit of every internet witticism, is the same thing.

Facebook is holding content ransom. The price? A like.

Like some perverted nightclub bouncer, every other page restricts your admittance until you’ve metaphorically fellated it by clicking the Like Button. And until you’ve paid the admission price and been inside the club you have no idea what music they play.

This is the problem. Pages force people to commit prior to having seen the content. That’s not how a transaction works. According to every movie I’ve ever seen, it’s half up front, half when the job’s done. So how about telling me what cup size my bride is before arranging our marriage. I’d like to see some content before I commit to liking your shit. What if I like it only to find that I don’t like it? I’m going to feel mighty silly and you’re gonna lose a fan. It’s a risk neither of us can afford to take.

Brands rely on the popularity of their products to secure likes. This isn’t enough for me. Red Bull, if your promise to bestow me with the gift of flight did not entice me, a few hints and a storm of arrows will also prove ineffective. It’s about as subtle as a wet brick to the face.

It’s not all major corporate brands that employ restrictive fellatio access parameters. Facebook is awash with lowly pages and groups exploiting the mindless curiosity of the world’s perverts and maniacs. These pages promise everything from hilarity, to gore and sexual exploits. Rarely do they deliver. Many more feature cryptic titles and puzzlingly conjured percentages like this:

98% of people cry with laughter when they see this pic

Really? Only 98% of, what I can only imagine, given the lack of specification, the global populace? That’s not good enough. Perhaps if these results were more conclusive I’d be tempted to like the page. But an entire 2%, an entire 138, 600, 000 of the world’s population were not brought to their knees pissing tears from their ducts, and I always trust the opinion of the minority.

It’s abundantly obvious that many of these pages are spam. If you’re vacant enough to click them you deserve every virus you will ever contract, including viruses not confined to the virtual world.

But amongst the canned meat produce I’m occasionally faced with content that I do actually wish to access. But do I really betray my own morals for a flash-based animation game or a whimsical caption below a charming image?

Here at Casa del MacTingz we do not negotiate with terrorists. Liking something to view blocked content is a submission of will. I never submit. I do this partly out of spite. It’s me getting one over on Facebook. Fightin’ the power. Stickin’ it to the man. It’s another win for the little guy. I also do it because within my twisted logical labyrinth of thought it makes me a better person.

Did you click the Like Button to satisfy your own curiosity? You did? Then you’re fucking weak.

The Like Button has become unavoidable. It’s in magazines, on the radio and on TV. Everywhere I look I’m being urged to like something. When did the world get so fucking insecure?

No longer is it enough to mentally like something. Nor is it enough to verbally announce that you like something. These likes are unquantifiable and this serves the business world no function. Now you need to demonstrate your love with the relentless clicking of a mouse. These can be counted and assessed in order to determine the popularity of a product or page. It’s Virtually Documented Popularity on a numerical scale. Everything you know you have to like.

Every brand and business has adopted the Like Button. Christ, even B&Q ads feature the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube widgets. Listen B&Q, I like you. I’ve always liked you. I like your competitive prices. I like your orange theme. I like your rhyming slogan. But you’re so needy I’m seriously considering terminating our relationship.

The entire internet has become a continual popularity contest. The omnipresent Like Button is a 21st century God, granting unapologetic ethereal glory to any shameless enough to whore their content on the streets of the net like a vulnerable Haitian child.

Having successfully infiltrated every aspect of mainstream media with the malignant Like Button, it’s only a matter of time before Facebook achieves total global supremacy and Zuckerberg becomes Master of the Universe. It won’t be long until our tangible presence is erased in favour of little more than a flickering quasi-physical image, and we all have Like Buttons perennially hovering over our holographic heads like great neon signs displaying our Likes/Dislikes as an interpersonal popularity rating. Expect a dramatic increase in suicides.

Zucks isn’t without his rivals however. The world is under threat from multiple rapidly evolving, potentially aggressive global superpowers. Who will be our ultimate masters? Facebook, Google, China, or an artificially intelligent fleet of mimetic poly-alloy nanomorphic assassins?

Facebook may be the least painful option, but I’d happily taste the liquid metal of  T-1000 to forgo clicking that button.

I hope the irony’s not lost on you here – I want you to like this post.

MacTingz

Article first published as Facebook Ultimatums on Technorati.

10 thoughts on “Facebook Ultimatums

  1. The ubiquity of the Facebook like has been really annoying, but then it doesn’t seem that bad in retrospect.

    People want to say the article/picture/video is good without saying it’s good in the comments, because you aren’t really contributing to the conversation. It seems pretty good until we remember how Facebook became addicting in the first place. People’s insecurities.

    I actually made a Facebook page. I never really look at it. It just posts stuff from my Google Reader. I’m the only one who liked it, but then I noticed the sidebar. They’re ads from Facebook. They all ask you if you want to get more likes.

    Somehow those social media dudes talk about how Likes show how much people like you and you could tell them when you have a new offer. Turns out Facebook really fooled them. The default setting is that they will see their friends and not the pages they liked on the top news. The people can change their settings, but do people really know about this or more importantly will they care?

    • You make a good point there. I’d much rather comment on a piece of writing I’ve found on WordPress, but sometime’s I’ll ‘like’ an article instead, simply because my knowledge of the topic isn’t such that I feel I can initiate a proper conversation. Maybe I just enjoyed the piece, or respected the way it was written.

      I think the average Facebook user is at a loss when it comes to editing settings in a way that would yield more productive hit rates to their pages. The only people, in my opinion, likely to alter the settings in such a way would be those that have perhaps done so before, or are relatively knowledgeable when it comes to social media, and the way it works.

      I don’t think I’ll make a Facebook page for this place. All Facebook can do is a diluted version of what goes on here anyway. Every bit of content will have to externally link to here. Facebook would act as a fairly inane sub-division. But hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I should…

      Thanks for reading man.

      Mac.

  2. Pingback: indie posit » Blog Archive » Anti-Bandwagon Propaganda » indie posit

  3. The world’s always been insecure but we now have a button, like a magic pill, to quell those insecurities.

    By the way, I clicked like – I guess I’m one of those insecure masses too (after all, I’m American). Remember, you can opt out of having the like button on your posts if you want. =)

    By the way, look at that video about the Sixth Sense technology because it’s the equivalent to having a Like button hanging over your head at all times. No thank you.

    • I’m not opposed to a like button on WordPress. I think it’s an appropriate alternative to a commenting on a post if you feel you’re not quite qualified to begin a discussion, or if you want to heap more praise on a piece than a single comment can provide. But Facebook’s restrictive distribution of content just for likes is really quite sad.

      I just feel opposed to Facebook. I’m not even sure why. I don’t know what it’s like in the States, but over, every TV advert has a Facebook link at the end. It’s just not necessary.

  4. Social media has permeated every aspect of capitalism in America – you’re not alone across the pond. I can’t even go get a burrito without being told I’ll get coupons if I follow the burrito joint on Facebook. It’s on signs for just about everything (along with Twitter, Myspace, and any other social sites out there). I haven’t been to the UK before (I’ll be there briefly in about nine days) but I doubt anybody else can top America when it comes to commercial prostitution – we’re the undefeated kings.

    Over here Facebook is pretty lame too and most of the things you describe in your posts aptly describe what I experience every time I log on. I hate Facebook but we’re just caught in the wave – we either do it or get left behind, becoming remnants of a past world where people actually talked to each other before professing their friendship and studied up before giving their allegiances. Luckily I don’t click like on most things, unless I’m actually interested in updates (such as bands I’m into or local places, such as the local independent cinema, I frequent). My bands have Facebook pages and one band has about 30 likes and the other has over 200 – I’m still not sure why that is or even why those people like us in the first place. Oh well.

    You still need to read The Filter Bubble.

  5. I clicked “like” here because I agree with you. Plus, of course, I got to read what you said first – you didn’t make me “like” the page before I got to read. I like that. I now assume any FaceBook page that a friend has liked is spam, and don’t even click on it. I don’t care how funny they think the video is or whatever. Not worth my time.

    • Many thanks. Unfortunately our attempts to boycott these terrible Facebook pages is largely outweighed by the masses who mindlessly ‘like’ every page they come across every day. I hope the same horrid taint doesn’t befall Google+ too. Social Networks were never my favourite thing to begin with, but now they’re all poisoned by companies utilising their features to increase their popularity.

      Thanks again for reading.

      Mac.

  6. I completely smiled at the end there, when you admitted the irony of the post. Kind of like when you see people on Facebook and updating their status to complain about Facebook, using Facebook (maybe not the best example, I don’t even remember where I was going with this, oh well). Either way, I have been noticing this a lot too, ‘liking’ is more impulsive now that it used to be, people need to be more self-aware of that before (gasp) they like something they hate.

    I read this whole post and I really do like it, so I shall like it and be awesome! :)

    • The like culture is an awful thing, showcasing how self-conscious the internet masses have become. But unfortunately it seems that there’s little we can do. The sad fact is that in order for your content to be observed by a large number of people, it has to be liked. Likes are like points. The more you have, the more likely it is that your content is good. Which we know is horseshit, but that’s the way it plays out. There are hundreds, thousands of great blogs with great content out there. But the stuff that gets Freshly Pressed is the stuff that’s seen by the most people. Shame really. I think the name of this blog sums up how I feel about the whole thing pretty well

      Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for reading Rocket.

      Mac.

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