Facebook allows people to keep close friends updated, tangential acquaintances updated and just whatever the internet is exactly updated. Upon posting a picture or status update about a life event, users have the opportunity to “like” these posts. The number of likes a given post receives often correlates to how momentous this life event is. A baby is born: 214 likes. Accepted to a top graduate school: 96 likes. Obligatory “thanks for all the birthday wishes” status: 17 likes.
The problem I see is that we have grown to a point where we seek to validate our success online with Facebook and other social media platforms. But what happens if you don’t get as many likes as you would expect? Did you really accomplish anything then?
A couple, Liza and Sam, are standing at their kitchen counter with a laptop open. It shows Liza’s Facebook profile with a picture of Sam and her. In the picture, she is extending her left arm and proudly displaying a ring on her fourth finger. The caption of the picture reads “Can’t wait to marry my best friend!”
Liza: It has been three hours!
Sam: Let’s try to be patient.
Liza: How hard is it to want to like our picture? My friend Cindy’s golden retriever got 87 likes yesterday for wearing a fedora.
Sam: It was cute.
Liza: Is it the ring? Do people not like the ring?
Sam: Of course not! I spent the necessary three months salary on it.
Liza: What is it then? I’m starting to think we’re not right for each other.
Liza: Obviously other people think we are not.
Sam: I don’t think likes works that way.
Liza: You don’t think so? John and Marie were able to get 324 likes on their engagement photo. And they are both…
Liza starts to cry.
Sam: Don’t say things you don’t mean. They are some of your best friends.
Liza: That doesn’t change the fact that they both have ogre faces.
Sam: How about we check how the picture is doing on Instagram?
Liza wipes a few tears from her face.
Liza: I like that idea.
Sam opens a new browser tab on the laptop to Instagram.
Liza: 7 likes?
Sam: Maybe it’s the filter that you used?
Liza: Ha! The filter?! It’s us! Admit it to yourself! We are not in love!
Sam: Let’s try Twitter.
Sam opens a tab to Twitter.
Liza: Not a single retweet or favorite? God, as if it could get any worse! We are failing across all platforms. At least I’ll finally have something worthwhile to write about on my WordPress.
Sam: Liza, please don’t give up on us.
Sam re-opens the Facebook tab.
He presses refresh. The number of likes stays the same.
He waits a moment and refreshes the page again. No change.
Sam: Liza, I don’t want to lose you.
Sam refreshes the browser.
Sam and Liza embrace one another passionately.