According to a press release from the Facebook Team, the social-networking site will publicly unroll even more ways to “like” starting this holiday season.
“Obviously, we first let users ‘like’ each other’s posts, then we added the ability to ‘like’ people’s comments,” explains Facebook PR Director Melvin Yutzy. “We decided it was time to take it to the next level.”
The “next level” is the ability to ‘like’ another person’s ‘like.’ Yutzy says the official terminology is to ‘re-like.’
It works like this: say you post a liberal-leaning political post. If your conservative uncle likes the post, you can ‘re-like’ his like, thereby indicating you’re glad he had a positive opinion of the article without having to make a fuss over it.
The re-like is portrayed as a gold outline around the name of the person re-liked. If all the likes in a post are re-liked, the post itself turns gold.
“We wanted to give both the likers and the re-likers a sense of accomplishment,” explains programmer Julius Fraught. “These aren’t just clicks of the mouse. These are expressions of camaraderie and unity.”
According to Yutzy, preliminary trials of the re-liking system has been met with overwhelmingly positive responses.
“It’s not like when we unrolled Timeline. Most changes in the workings of Facebook are met with 66-72% of users threatening to burn down Zuckerberg’s house. This upgrade has been incorporated almost effortlessly in all our beta testing.”
Psychologist Herman Miernov, however, says the benefits of re-liking go beyond mere electronic high-fiving. “The entire culture of Likers is built around establishing a tribe. By seeing whom you agree with, and by collecting more and more groups and pages, the user builds a solar system wherein she is the sun and her selected view of reality revolves around her.
“Re-liking allows mutual reinforcement of tribal norms,” Miernov asserts, “thereby strengthening the social bond between two or more faceless Internet personalities.”
Miernov, an avowed germaphobe and recluse, asserts this is a boon in a dirty, plague-filled, hostile, and all-around-mean world.
Beta tester and mother of three young children Sonya Thompson thinks Miernov is over-reading the situation. “Look, some days I don’t even have time to brush my teeth. To see fifty-five notifications when I check my phone gives me a sense that I’m still connected to the adult world, and maybe, just maybe, my life matters.”
Programmers at Facebook hope to continue to expand upon the idea of re-liking. “Around here, re-liking is actually short for ‘recursive liking,’” says Fraught. “Our eventual goal is to allow multiple exchanges of liking. So, for instance, you could like my post, and I could like the fact that you liked it, and you could like the fact that I liked that you liked it. And so on.”
This would be especially useful for new couples who think they’re madly in love and ideologues, explains Fraught.
Even with all the benefits of re-liking, some users still wonder why Facebook refuses to add a dislike button.
“The official stance of Facebook is that anything you don’t actively like, you dislike,” explains Yutzy. “So if your friends don’t like the fact you’re eating a fish taco at the corner of Main and Williams, you can only assume they find either your meal, your location, or you, disgusting.”