In Part 1, we looked at the word like and how Facebook, in particular, has influenced our view of it. We discussed that though approval is indeed part of life, we have a problem when we put too much emphasis on what others think of us. Ultimately, our main concern should be making God happy.
Petals Scattered in the Wind
There’s another problem in this whole business of “likes”—the pressure to approve of things we don’t know well enough to assess. On several occasions, I’ve received Facebook or Twitter requests (maybe you have too) to “like” a certain business or author I’ve never even heard of. Sometimes there’s even an incentive: “Like my author page and be entered in a drawing for a free Alaskan cruise.”
Of course, there’s nothing evil about offering an incentive, but each time I’ve found myself thinking, How can I “like” a business that’s three states away and to which I’ve never been a patron? How can I “like” the page of an author I know nothing about or whose books I’ve never read?
Yet everywhere I turn, I’m being asked to give my “likes” away as if they were flower petals scattered in the wind. But don’t they mean more than that? My public affirmation of a product or business has value and shouldn’t be given away carelessly.
What Others See
Granted, “like” could mean I simply like an author without having read his or her books. True. But frankly most authors I “know” are only online acquaintances. I’ve met very few in person, and of those I’ve met, I can’t say I know them very well.
So the question is, what does my “like” mean to others? If I say I “like” an author’s or musician’s Facebook page, won’t others interpret my “like” as approval of his or her books or music? I think so.
Do you understand the power of “likes”? Publishers, editors, and literary agents certainly do. “Likes” are powerful indicators of an author’s marketing savvy or popularity.
These are important issues to consider, yet I’ve noticed that they fail to hold some people back, especially when it comes to marketing.
Last year, a large number of authors were caught up in a feverish pursuit. Someone had compiled a list of Christian authors’ Facebook pages, and everyone was encouraged to “like” everyone on the list. I admit it—I felt pressured to participate but ultimately declined.
To be fair, some of these authors perhaps truly knew each other and did like these authors and their books—they answer to God, not to me. But the general plea was, “Go ‘like’ these authors, and they’ll like you back.”
Sounds harmless, right? Except when we consider the ethical implications.
First, to mindlessly go down a list and like all the authors on it, regardless of who they are or whether you even know them, simply isn’t honest.
Second, if this mindless “likefest” took place, it resulted in the artificial manipulation of many authors’ likes. The end result was lot of “likes” that simply weren’t accurate. They certainly didn’t come from adoring fans.
Third, the inflated number of likes would have given publishers, editors, and literary agents an inaccurate representation of the author’s success.
Are We People of Honesty?
Have you ever traded your integrity for a “like”?
“A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight” (Prov. 11:1).
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (Eph. 4:25).
If we’re people of the Book, then we should be people of honesty. We should say only what we mean and mean only what we say.
I’m far from perfect. Have I always been honest in all of life’s dealings? Of course not. I’m a sinner too and sometimes I find myself exaggerating. May God forgive me.
But when it comes to “likes,” I’ve learned to be pretty stingy . . . because what I say I like represents what I believe about the value of a product, author, TV show, business, and so forth. Giving a false impression of my approval is a form of lying. And what I say I approve of can also influence others . . . for good or for ill.
May God always keep us people of integrity.
- Be Careful What You “Like” Part 1
- Favorite Books: The Chronicles of Prydain