To Like or Not to Like? That is the Question.

Add NauseamFacebook is somewhat of a challenge for someone like me, who gets bored easily, who wants to use my time to learn new things and really can’t stand repetition, i.e. advertisements, on TV or the radio, drive me crazy. It’s like, what, “Do they think I’m an idiot, that I need to hear their ad five hundred times a day?” And no, I’m still not buying it.*

So I finally get on Facebook and Twitter and, lo and behold, I’m inundated with other people sharing stuff I’ve already seen somewhere else or heard before. Sure, some of it is heartwarming and some of it is an attempt at making a valuable point, but some of it seems to be getting added because people think they need to have something to say, every ten minutes, and they don’t have anything to contribute themselves, so they post other people’s stuff.

I am doing my best to be politically correct and not using the other much less desirable description that can be used to describe this kind of verbal effluent, so I decided to call this Facebook phenomenon “Add Nauseam,” which is derived from:

Ad nauseam: A Latin term used to describe a conversation that has been continuing “to the point of nausea.” One example, the phrase: “This topic has been discussed ad nauseam,” signifies that it has been discussed extensively or that everyone involved is tired of that discussion.

For me, this includes people who are posting constantly about things other people have said. Once or twice a day, maybe even three times a day, if someone wants to post something of interest, I could probably tolerate that much, but ten or twenty posts by anyone in a day is enough to make me take much less of a liking to them. I was worried that I shouldn’t be commenting on both Facebook and Twitter since info pop’s up twice!

I also found that every time I “like” something it goes to everyone who’s “liked” me. So I have stopped doing as much of that. If it’s really worth sharing, I will, but I am going to try to avoid generating too much clutter on other people’s pages.

I wonder how people manage if they have tons of Like’s on their page. How do you process all of that information?

It seems more likely that people don’t. And it seems like respect for information goes downhill as everyone blasts through hundreds of posts and only look at ones with graphics that are “cute or pretty or what?” enough to catch our attention. Is that what Facebook is all about? He/she who is the cutest or most shocking wins? Makes sense in our fast-paced culture of appearances.

Well, hopefully I can find ways to be cute enough with my super! creative! verbal gymnastics, and just damn good ideas. (I intend to package the shocking stuff a little more discreetly.)

But then again, am I being too considerate?

Facebook is used in a couple of ways. Some people just follow events that occur in their friends and families lives, while others hope that by using Facebook, they might impact or change some people’s lives. For those people, and that includes me, it’s all about the power of what people “like.”

But we actually have no control of what others do, only what we choose to do—the fates will decide who likes what and why.

(I love how this typeface’s “D’s” look like eyes that are checking things out.)

*This is not necessarily because I don’t want many of the things that are advertised. It’s a symptom of our capitalistic society—some people get stuff and some people don’t. “Why?” the advertisers wonder. Try being a woman who is a single parent and someone who wants to do a good job caring for her kids. Many of us just don’t have money for all the new, exciting gadgets and cars and trips. The kids do their share of consumption: going to movies, buying shoes and clothes and taking trips with their classes or teams and that usually means I go without. Mainly I just don’t like repetition. If they had new ads on every couple of days, I probably wouldn’t bother to make the effort to tune them out. But then advertisers would say, “That would cost US too much!” Damn capitalism. I realized last week that part of the reason I was hearing ads literally repeating over and over again is that the progressive station I listen to in Seattle, AM1090, will be gone Jan 2, 2013. Apparently they didn’t have enough ads to fill the space and just repeated them. This is a huge loss for progressives. But I know most of their listeners will try to find ways to continue hearing the voices of the people we have grown to love. Voices we still need desperately.


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