Google Reading too much into this

September 02, 2009

Schadenfreude on Google Reader
Originally uploaded by InfoMofo
"3 people were interested in this" was too hard? What's with this internet obsession with reducing our emotions to "like" and "star"? Why do facebook and google reader only allow you to pick emotions with necessarily positive connotations?

The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis on Linguistic Relativity claims that the amount of diversity of concepts in a language actual shapes the way that speakers of that language think. For example, Eskimos don't just have a billion words for snow, they are actually able to perceive snow differences in ways that someone who did not grow up with those linguistic terms would never be able to distinguish.

I understand why facebook does it actually. Most things on facebook tends to be positive. Being allowed to dislike "Michael got married to Rachel" or "John is in a Relationship" would set a dangerous tone for the overly social community and discourage the oversharing that makes the network what it is today. However, if the internet is being forced to communicate in terms of "like", "follow", "star" and not given any options to express dislike with things, then our discourse is going to be stilted, and our cognitive processes that stem from our internet-based relationships will be incomplete.

TL;DR version: DO NOT LIKE.

and what's so hard about just reducing all reactions to cool and schmool. it's worked for me for years.

Written by Will who lives and works in New York. You should follow him on Twitter.