It’s nothing that surprising, really. Whenever a major web platform announces a seemingly huge change, everyone goes nuts about it – even if nobody actually knows what that change may mean. That’s exactly what happened earlier this week, when Mark Zuckerberg hinted at the possibility of the heavily-requested, always-controversial Dislike button finally coming to Facebook.
Kindly notice that we’ve said “hinted” since there’s isn’t a slight confirmation that said button will actually be coming to the platform. Some are already betting that Facebook wouldn’t dare to include such negativity button and that the social behemoth would be considering some sort of empathy buttons. However, most people are already talking as if the Dislike button was already a reality and, in fact, many are already pondering on the potential consequences (which, of course, will be disastrous).
Look, it’s understandable that oh-so-many people are worried about how that Dislike button might be a tool too good to be true for trolls to expand their cyberbullying reign. But aren’t we getting ahead of themselves? The lack of concrete information surrounding the supposed button hasn’t stopped millions of people from condemning its existence altogether – an existence that hasn’t been confirmed yet!
Besides, many talks around the button are talking in a suspiciously convinced tone about the road users are going to take when the Dislike button goes live. Check most of the articles that are making the rounds and you’ll see that most rhetoric questions to state what they feel to be true – that the button will be used for trolling and that its impact will be mostly harmful and negative. We aren’t saying that a button like this can’t cause negativity – but how can we be sure?
History has already proven lots of times that people do whatever they want with the platforms they use. So, the presence of a Dislike button doesn’t necessarily mean anything until the people starts to use it. Cyberbullying might be one of the possible scenarios, yes, but so are empathy scenarios and even some others we haven’t imagined just yet.
Additionally, people fretting about the Dislike button should consider the background to all of this. We already have social networks in which the expression of negativity is present and a vital part of their whole experience. YouTube’s thumbs down or Reddit’s downvotes are proof that it’s possible for a “negative” element to exist in a digital social environment without major repercussions. Are they used to cyberbully? Yes. And also for a lot of other things.
Basically, what we are saying here is that we shouldn’t be worrying so much now about something we don’t even know. It’s possible that the inclusion of a Dislike button as it is will never happen, given how Facebook has resisted its inclusion for years. Instead, we might be getting something different, a new tool to communicate and express ourselves that will work in many levels – from a social standpoint to digital marketing.
The truth is that worrying about the tool itself is ineffective. It’s not the thing we use to express ourselves what should worry us but what are we actually expressing. Cyberbullying is a real threat in our spectacularly connected world and one button won’t make that much of a difference. Instead, we should focus on learning how to properly position social media in our lives, understanding its importance as a tool but not overvalue what happens there.
A like is a digital expression and not a form a validation of your lifestyle. Better to start thinking that way before some sort of Dislike button comes our way and people start feeling that the balance of likes and dislikes actually measures people’s worth.