Getting “liked” on facebook is always authentic, right? I guess I should just ask all 800 of my authentic facebook “friends”.
One of the popular online trends of 2010 has been to try to convince/bribe people on facebook to “like” your fan page. I hope it’s okay to think that concept is hilarious, because it cracks me up every time. Sure, having thousands of people “like” Conan O’Brien’s fan page on facebook had to have helped him, but the difference with him was that he nor his crew had anything to do with it. True fans began and empowered the Coco movement on their own. But I know that all entertainment and business entrepreneurs are being told by the experts to get people to “like” them on facebook and think up clever sayings for Twitter because this is the age of networking and doing those things helps ensure prosperity or at least survival. And they’re probably right.
But still, it reminds me of being in the 1st grade and some kid you barely know asks for your slice of pizza during lunch and attaches this promise to his request: “I’ll be your best friend…” As a young child, even then I always knew there was no authenticity there. But then again, we are all well aware that at least a quarter of our facebook friends are not actually our friends- in fact, I have no clue who a quarter of them even are, and I bet they would say the same thing about me.
I’m currently (and slowly) reading a book called Microtrends, which explains the power of 1 percent of the population liking anything. In the introduction of the book, author Mark J. Penn explains, “By the time a trend hits 1 percent, it is ready to spawn a hit movie, best-selling book, or new political movement.” According to the book, that 1 percent of the American population he is referring to literally means 300,000 people; not even a third of a million people. In essence, the idea behind being “liked” on facebook is an effort to show the marketing executives that one’s cause has a following close to or reaching 300,000 people.
I’m all about other people being successful and even helping them to get there in big meaningful ways, but being asked to be “like” anything ultimately just reminds me of the fact that if everyone was rich, that no one would actually be rich- in the same way, only a limited amount of people can be famous. And if you try to manipulate the true Invisible Hand of Coolness and Popularity in a room full of thousands of other people also metaphorically yelling to each other, “Hey, look at me!”, the noise just cancels out most of the room, while the actual trend leaders are in a different room down the hall.
I would rather know that a person authentically “likes” me, not by creating my own fan page and asking people to publicly acknowledge my awesomeness in a predictable facebook gesture. But then again, I’m not cool enough to think up clever Twitter posts either. I’m so out of touch- I’m such a bitter, old, stubborn man. Now get off my property!