A Modern Day Example Of Rigidity Of Thought And Why Facebook Should Have An Acknowledge Button

The idea for this post came from a discussion I took part in on one of the Aspergers groups on Facebook yesterday but it is something I think about a lot generally too. I mean no offence in this post so, as always, I apologise if anything in this post inadvertently offends.

The debate in question was about whether people felt guilty for using the Like button on statuses that were tragic in nature such as those announcing illnesses or bereavement. This is something I personally will never do. I will click Like on statuses that celebrate a person’s memory on the anniversary of their death or other important events such as Christmas or their birthday because celebrating someone’s memory is positive. However, to me, bereavement statuses are not to be liked. How can you use the same button to celebrate someone’s new job, engagement, marriage or pregnancy, the happiest events in someone’s life, and then also to acknowledge the death of someone’s relative or friend or the diagnosis of a terminal illness? I know that a lot of people use the Like button as an acknowledgement of the status and I am not saying they are wrong for doing so but it doesn’t fit with the way my mind works. I think I am too literal minded-like should mean like, not acknowledge. I do admit that, on occasions when a status is both negative and positive, I sometimes will click Like because I like the positive element of the status but I will always comment that this is what I meant. On tragic statuses, I always leave a comment rather than click Like.

I know that this debate is not solely an Aspergers issue as I have heard lots of people debate this and I genuinely do think a lot of upset would be solved if Facebook included an Acknowledge option so that you can let someone know you are thinking of them without risking misinterpretation. I remember reading a post a couple of years ago on Facebook from someone with Aspergers about how their friends liking their negative statuses had led to many meltdowns because they thought it meant that those friends were revelling in their misfortune. Of course this is not how it was meant at all-I do believe that the majority of people in this world are compassionate and do not take any pleasure in the sharing of bad news but, looking at it from the perspective of a so called “black and white” thinker, I can see why this person became so distressed. It’s to do with the meanings behind the word “like” and how these are wholly incompatible with tragic news. “Acknowledge” would be a much better option but, for the moment, I find a thoughtful comment is the way forward for me personally.

In conclusion, I wish to clarify that I do not mean any offence by this article. I know that my rigidity of thought around this issue puts me in the minority but it is, in my opinion, an interesting debate and I would be interested to know how others feel.

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3 Responses to A Modern Day Example Of Rigidity Of Thought And Why Facebook Should Have An Acknowledge Button

  1. alexforshaw says:

    I feel the same way about the “Like” button in those circumstances. It would be useful to have some kind of acknowledgement button for those cases where “Like” doesn’t feel appropriate but I don’t have words for a comment.

  2. Patricia says:

    I like how Diary of a Mom ends posts that are not “Like-able” – she puts “Like = I get it” or something to that affect. For some reason, reading this (because I was watching Avatar with my son this weekend), it made me think of the line “I see you.”

    I totally agree with you. An “acknowledge” button would be excellent.

  3. I feel the same. I always think it’s wrong to like the fact somebody is ill etc as that kind of makes you into a sadist. Maybe a sympathy/empathy button showing acknowledgement.

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