Suzanne Pyrch is a frequent contributor to the blog. Her reflections here represent the owner of this site as well. I “like” what she has to say. I hope you do too.
First let me state (before people come after me with baseball bats) that I do not like Hitler. But it is my premise that if today’s technology existed in the early 20th century Hitler’s popularity, which was already disturbingly large, would have increased exponentially. After all, it is very easy to click that little Like button. I enjoy clicking it; I enjoy telling friends that I liked the picture they posted or their last bon mot on facebook. It is when I see people click Like for corporations that I get baffled and disturbed.
Really, you like them? You have warm fuzzy feelings about them and you think they want to be your friend? The same corporations that think you don’t need to make, or even have the right to bargain for, a living wage? The ones that have bought up the government and made your vote useless? The companies that blithely destroy our planet just to net a windfall profit? The same ones that have turned you from a whole, creative human being into a consumer? You like them?
Partly I understand this. There is a disconnect between what a corporation can provide and the impact it has on the world. For instance, I like and use Apple products. I like their dependability and their superior customer service. I don’t actually know if they have a fb page, but if they do I would never click a like button for Apple. I would feel as if I was assisting a suicide. Apple has been involved in farming out work to Chinese factories in which the workers are so mistreated that many of them have climbed to the roof of their factory and jumped. While their employees in the US fare better, they don’t fare well. I was so disturbed by Apple’s practices that I wouldn’t buy an iphone or an ipad.. I held out for quite a while, but I was weak and I gave in. But, for my own peace of mind, I will never click Like.
Many of my friends (charming and bright people all) have clicked Like for Amazon. Again, really? Sure it is nice to get books and other products for cheap right to your doorstep. But have you considered what you are losing? Remember the personality of independent bookstores? Personally, I really miss record stores. I miss walking into a record store that had a knowledgeable staff. It was not only possible to get recommendations, it was possible to get a stimulating face-to-face conversation. And this is just on a customer level. How Amazon controls what you can read, underpays authors and hamstrings publishers is another story. In fact, it is a story well covered in Deborah Emin’s blogs. Take a look before you click Like.
I would like to lobby for two more buttons to go next to the Like button. The first button is Detest. If you can like a company, you should also be able to detest them. They should be required to tell your friends on fb that so-and-so detested Exxon Mobil today. The third button is even more important: I want a button labeled Aware. When you click the Aware button, the corporation is required to tell you their hiring and labor practices, how much the CEO makes, how much the average employee makes, how much money they have donated to campaigns, and their environmental record. I am sure there are other things we might want to know. You can create your own Aware button. But please ask yourself before you click Like for a corporation, what would pop up if you clicked Aware?