Think Before U Like

December 4, 2012

I don’t trust that thumb farther than I can throw it.

Illustration by Charlotte Fassler

In the last two weeks I have read three lengthy, analytical assessments of my generation, honing in predominantly on that which we do wrong.

First, there was the New York Times Opinionator piece by Christy Wanpole, titled How to Live Without Irony, declaring this generation one of ironists. Then there was a late November issue of New York Magazine, including an article titled I Really Like That You Like What I Like. It dubbed the internet of today too friendly for its own good, comparing it briefly to its previous iteration: an eery, anonymous hotbed of anger. And finally, over this past weekend, I read about humble bragging in (again,) the New York Times.

This is something I have indubitably mastered, (see: I’m in Scotland with Chanel but O.M.G. it is so cold! Glad they gave me a scarf!), which I would argue is highly possible because of Instagram’s amplifying popularity and our strive to document everything we do, see, and are in real time.

But there’s a fundamental problem with the notion of real time and that is: an absence of thoughtfulness. Maybe if I thought about how silly it might look to post, for example, an image of Kanye West, captioned, “I can’t believe we’re at the same party–how did I get invited to this?” I wouldn’t do such things as often. But maybe, also, there’s something to my humble brag-harvested inclination in conjunction with those pesky, high volume likes.

I am highly disturbed that a digital thumb up has the ability to fill a highly visceral void manifesting within me with the same level of compassion that say, a compliment, hug, or, heck, confession of undying love could. The maniacal pace at which I check newly uploaded Instagram photos, tweets, and (even still,) Facebook statuses is disconcerting.

Why are you liking what I like? Why am I liking what you like? Have we become so dependent on social networking as a primary force of communication that we can’t handle real feeling anymore? It scares me that I can watch a friend’s facial expression shift from suicidal to elated because, “oh my God, he just liked my throwback Thursday picture!”

Even more, it scares me that exciting (and consequently) devastating news can spread faster through the internet than by word of mouth. I read in Jezebel last week that a set of parents learned their daughter had died at her college by way of her Facebook wall. On it were several RIP notes that had received plentiful likes. But what is that sort of interaction–at, not with, someone–if not a twisted, immoral fight for likes? Who are we becoming?

Perhaps another strain of anonymous commenter. While we’re not necessarily hiding behind pseudonyms and ambiguous monikers anymore, we are deliriously double tapping shit that we don’t even care about. We’re hiding behind our own identities and using our seemingly useless power to mark our respective presence. But why?

The Times piece on irony fails to mention why we have become so accustomed to delivering and digesting information ironically. Though I’m no expert, (see that, here’s my half-humble, ironic plea, to ask that you refrain from offending my opinion,) maybe, it’s got something to do with that allegedly deceased hotbed of anger–(frankly, the internet will always be a haven for hostility.) Would we have become this ironic if we didn’t feel like self deprecation was the crutch of maintaining internet neutrality? Why don’t I identify what’s wrong with what I’m saying (but still say it,) before capital A-Anonymous gets to it and depletes my morale?

But where irony prevails now, likes may fail. Once the irony trickles down from the content supplier to the content consumer, the seemingly useless power will grow exponentially stronger. We are conditioning ourselves to enter a world where while using our anti-anonymous, anonymous identities, we can passively and ironically “like” all the things we hate. I’ve just got to wonder, are we ready for that?

  • http://twitter.com/uhimbailey Bailey Powell

    HOW FAST CAN I LIKE THIS POST THAT YOU LIKE?

    Fareal doe, you nailed it.

  • Alice

    This was very interesting. I was very shocked by the parents who found out about their daughter dying through Facebook. That would be awful. I feel like likes are an assertion of our status. The more likes we get, the more confident we feel and see ourselves as elevated to a higher status because “holy shit I basically received 100 likes in 5 minutes.” And then this leads to other people admiring us simply because we have facebook likes. -.- What bothers me about this “like” phenomenon is that people don’t even like the content anymore but depending on who’s posting the picture, they automatically click like. You could literally post a picture of a dog’s ear and get 3000 likes.

    Alice
    aldasworld.blogspot.com

  • Jean

    Maybe I shouldn’t say I agree, based on what I just read… but it’s a refreshing and logical point of view. Something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately, too.

    Have you checked the popular pictures on Instagram lately? It’s depressing.

  • Heather

    All the things I’m always thinking, but saying them so much better than I ever could. Well written. Disclaimer – this is not being ironically said.

  • ML

    i’d say you need to write a book asap but that would be liking too much what you like, and furthermore: would i really like it?

  • ecmdr

    hmmm…. interesting thoughts,I read these articles as well and I think these are issues our generation have to deal with now without knowing how it will affect us 10 years down the road… Our whole personal identity intrinsically linked to our internet ‘persona’. Thanks for the thoughts Leandra, glad to hear these kind of musings from a blogger!

  • http://www.facebook.com/julie.chen.969 Julie Chen

    OMG my head is spinning!

  • priscilla j.p.

    Something to ponder about before heading to class! Thanks
    I shall read all the other articles during class! That’s productive don’t cha think?

  • http://supersonicmagnifique.blogspot.com/ Aimee

    Seriously, girlfriend, write a book. About something. Anything! You have an amazing writing style. Props.

  • http://twitter.com/SophieLewis423 Sophie Lewis

    This is such a fascinating and relavent topic. I must confess to “double tapping shit I don’t even like” just to feel like I contributed to something. I admit to having participated in this shameful act on you very instagram account countless times, liking shots of things I don’t recognize but look cool just because you posted it just 30 seconds ago and if I like it right now I can be the 23rd like and that somehow makes me important. While I do not think this is a healthy habit, it does make a lot of people, myself included, feel like part of a bigger picture, as well as part of an idol’s world (you being the idol in this case). To be able to share a moment with someone who is a major influence on your life adds happiness to an otherwise gloomy day. So while I don’t condone rapid likes, I will likely continue to do this act because the pictures are there, so why not like them?
    As for sharing our own photos and anxiously awaiting likes, it is extremely toxic, but again, I shall continue to participate (for what reason I have no idea).

    Thanks for a very thought provoking post! xx

    http://scattergirll.blogspot.com

  • Naina

    You are the new Jesus.
    As conceited as this may sound, I barely ever like anything on Instagram. Not because I’m a bitch, but because I don’t love the photo of your dog between your legs. Or you plate of Christmas cookies. If you love it, that’s great: you don’t need MY approval, because what makes ME so important to you anyway?
    And don’t even get me started on the fawning: ‘love your bag, love your shoes, love your hair, love your life’ … everyone is so obsessed with everyone else, and it’s a problem. It really is.

    p.s. I actually do love you Leandra, not because of your sartorial sense, but because of your ACTUAL common sense.

    SIDEWALKCATWALKS.com

    • http://www.profreshstyle.com/ Christina of Profresh Style

      Actual common sense. Spot-on.

    • Jessica

      *slow clap*
      I say this honestly and with legitimate admiration, you have a damn fantastic head on your shoulders. I was going to write a similar comment, but I feel as though you explained it a hundred times better than I ever could.

      The Lovelorn

    • Leslie

      it is a problem. that’s the essence of facebook profile-stalking. “how many reasons can i come up with to prove that everyone is more fabulous, beautiful and exciting than i…”

    • Brit

      New Jesus? Oh come onnnn

      • Izzy

        Maybe it was some classic irony.

  • http://twitter.com/Annavonb_ Anna von Bertrab

    Read Etel Adnan’s “The Cost of Love We are Not Willing to Pay”from documenta 13 also to diagnose further this symptom of our postmodern age lingering in melancholy and self doubt in constant need of reassurance. Perhaps also read Fredric Jameson’s essay on postmodernism. I hope this inspires you to continue writing on our present state!

  • rhodawong
  • http://theurbanpromeneur.blogspot.com/ THE URBAN PROMENEUR

    In times of whimsical timelines elating people to stalk and like even more, it is definitely about being careful. I never really recognized that ‘liking’ things is been shown on various walls, actively overriding Facebooks terms of privacy and hours of censoring contents.

    But because the content of your blog is so enlightening I am going to like even more. The rapid abasement of the term ‘like’ is what really frightens me.

    PS: The Kanye West example is so good. I thought you’d bring up this Bieber kid again, as often as he is to be found in front rows lately. Insane.

    http://THEURBANPROMENEUR.blogspot.com

  • Behind the Mirror

    I like what you like… pretty much always so.. there’s that.
    http://www.behindthemirrorblog.blogspot.com/

  • http://twitter.com/AleeeMarr Alejandra

    My New Years resolution is to think before double tapping everything on my IG timeline.

  • Lera

    “likes” replace a thoughtful reply…one has nothing to say but wants to stay relevant s/he “likes”.

  • Viv

    Very interesting post, it’s good food for thought! I enjoy reading your posts because they are well written and keep my attention for more than half a second (even when your posts bring up a more serious topic like this one). As for the “like” button, most of the time, i just “like” things in my head without ever clicking the button lol.

    myblissisthisway.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/Fawkeshunter Fawkeshunter

    Well now it’s not cool to say I like what you said, good thing I’ve never been one to do what’s cool. I like that you raised this issue. The online realm not only acts as a filter for feelings, but can also reveal some people’s true selves from the world. I mean it wasn’t until someone in my social circle I thought was OK IRL posted a series of not-so-humble brags topped off with “has anyone test driven the new Tesla sedan?” on facebook that I realized he was a total d-bag. Now whenever we’re hanging out, I can’t believe I missed it.
    http://fawkeshunter.com/

  • Vsp

    We want to be everywhere, With everyone at all Times….to like réassures us on being part of it all, keeps us feeling alive.

  • Catalina Gómez

    This just reminded me… have you seen this?
    http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6853117/look-at-this-instagram-nickelback-parody
    Besides the hilarity (I thought so anyways) it made me really depressed. I am the asshole they’re Nicklebacking about. This is a new low in my life.

  • Kayla T

    I think maybe, I’m like a worse you (humblebrag!) I just wrote a post in which I examine my own use of consistent self deprecation as a defense bc I feel strange about the very fact that I have a blog.

    Thanks for being eloquent about this whole phenomenon.

    http://www.nearlyoldfriends.com

  • alcessa

    Phew :-)

    First of all … thanks for letting me know about humble bragging which I recognized as a real life force immediately, because I do it, too. But … I really do work hard. And by working hard, I sometimes lose the feeling for the world around me and something in me doesn’t like this state of mind and lack of feelings and enjoyment. So after having worked real hard for a longer period of time and having lost myself in all the texts I deal with, business decisions I have to make and hours and hours of postponing pleasure, something in me will snap and need reassurance and pleasure, much of it. Which is when two words collide: I am actually a modest person, I grew up as such, in an environment that supported and even required it, so I delivered without any misgivings, yet nowadays, I need bragging as an instant, very strong assertion of the fact that all is well in my life. Obviously, I need to assert that to myself. And since I know myself fairly well, I also notice these bragging acts don’t really go deep, they don’t resonate, they stay on the surface. Of course I am also not a paragon of self-confidence, but that’s OK: most of us aren’t and it is vastly overrated, anyway. I actually think and feel that some humble bragging is OK if you are really involved generally. Efforts will have side effects. But it is very good to know exactly why others may feel irritated. So thank you for the link.

    Now, about the irony of liking: a few days ago, there was a headline on Guardian.co.uk asking us something like “Should men be allowed to wear deer cardigans on Xmas for reasons of irony?” :-) Well? Should they? :-)

    And: isn’t irony at the core of the post-modern attitude to the world and isn’t it dead already? :-)

    I’d say Bring it o, irony being the other issue I have lived (with) since … decades. It is so deeply ingrained in me that even the most innocent statements will contain it, visible only to me. And it all started way before internet. Actually, it all started way before regular TV consumption. :-) (this is to show you my humblebragging abilities)

    I thought this was what prevented me from those attacks of sudden happiness when someone likes what I did/do. It may also help me avoid Facebook & Co., since someone having a real ironic distance to herself (not just as an act of humorous self-promotion) won’t get many friends or likes. Some people say such an attitude is harmful socially and in business, because if I don’t really believe in myself, why should others? (in my opinion, one is better off with people who are able to keep some distance to me, myself and I)

    Anyway: here’s my Thank you for this post: your writing’s excellent. :-) It really is.

  • http://www.stylelove.gr/ Xeni Kouveli

    it’s good to question ourselves sometimes.. but i don’t think we change anything at the end..
    this is the way we live now. through instagram and facebook and twitter.
    as raw as it sounds.

  • lavieenliz

    such a great topic! this article is amazing.

    http://lavieenliz.com

  • Felicity

    I’ve actually heard about a worrying number of people finding out about family deaths this way – in fact, my own cousin (who’s away from home on a US-AUS student exchange) found out about her own mother’s death on Facebook (she had been camping in the wilderness of Tasmania and pretty much uncontactable, and unfortunately the first thing she did when she got back to “civilisation” was check Facebook, where there were a plethora of “sorry for your loss” comments on her wall. Ugh.). Ugh ugh ugh. And why do people ‘like’ death statuses?! Hey, congrats on dying and all that! Weird.
    In all honesty, I genuinely hate Facebook. But it’s sort of a necessary evil nowadays.
    that-bird.blogspot.co.uk

  • http://twitter.com/Kate_Neroni Kate Neroni

    I was pondering over this exact conflict just the other day and I couldn’t have put it any better myself. I love the essay and opinion posts on your blog, please keep it up! It’s what I wish blogging and fashion could go back to instead of all these mindless outfits of the day and inspiration posts. The ease of access and authority that the internet has governed is sad, whats sadder? There seems to be no sign of it slowing down :(

    Thank you again TMR!
    xx Kate

    http://www.decodedbykate.blogspot.com
    http://www.thisurlisunavalible.tumblr.com

  • JackieGLoves

    Well, I do agree with you in many things. Actually, I have a friend who knew her grandpa had died because their friends were talking about that on their facebook, her parents were trying to hide it from her because she was out of the country. Thas was crazy.

    I love social networks and I do think they’re a huge step in society, they’re useful for life, professional business, you know but sometimes we lose the sense of what’s real life and what’s not and we’re getting used to sell a image of ourselves which actually doesn’t exist. It’s like “wow look how cool I am” but then you get to know her and it’s like “what you do those things only for your Instagram account?”.
    I feel as if we need to get down to earth, away from this crazy “we like whatever you like” world.

    http://www.jackiegloves.com

  • Opposite Lipstick
  • Guest

    ou have a brilliant way of speaking to our generation – and such a cerebral yet sometimes, somehow.. irreverent manner that is just masterful – a beautiful dichotomy you are. A wonderful example of just ‘doing you’

    (A reluctant thumbs up ;)

    -Faye

    http://www.fashionhound.tv

  • Fashion Hound

    You have a brilliant way of speaking to our generation – and such a cerebral yet sometimes, somehow.. irreverent manner that is just masterful – a beautiful dichotomy you are. A wonderful example of just ‘doing you’

    (A reluctant thumbs up ;)

    -Faye

    http://www.fashionhound.tv

  • the (un?)social butterfly

    I find interesting how torn you are about social networking — a confessed victim, with a certain hope of finding salvation in conscience.

    We used to take off our masks in the privacy of our homes. Now, social networks provide us with the tools to continue working on our masks while in private.

  • Sketch42

    OK- Here’s a stab… First- Im about 5 years older than you, so I sit literally right smack in the middle of Gen X- my hubbie’s generation- and yours… He is an AGGRESSIVE early adapter of all internet based products and apps. However, he does not, has not, cannot and will not craft the internet identities we have all formed for ourselves. His generation toys with it, our generation lives and breathes it. Why all the irony from the millennials? I dont know, I think it could be that they were all born and came of age in a time when fashion started recycling heavily and also the 80s and 90s were mocked for the past 20 years until the recent backlash nostalgia so maybe thats why? And yes, I definitely think its also a reaction to internet anon commenters. Call it out before someone calls you on it. Own your flaws etc… As someone who is on the cusp of both-I generally feel like Im very sincere in my likes and dislikes. I havent gotten on board with ironic trends (although I do like some of the nostalgic ones) and I find it hard to indulge in ironic life. Like all bloggers, Im very involved in my internet persona, presenting only certain sides of myself, I guess… But I dont know if its contrived in a bad way. Maybe Im more authentic than ever because my friendships arent limited to the people I happen to be born next to? I dunno.

    And as for your last comment- People have been saying they LIKE things they hate forever. Ever wear something really weird to a party (of course you have)? And everyone tells you they like it? Its because they really hate it and they just feel they need to say something, because it cant be ignored.

  • Sylvia etc

    Just taking from one angle, yes, it’s difficult to differentiate spontaneity, irony and copy-catting cool with likes on social media … blog comments are more personal than thumbs up:)

    http://www.sylviaetc.blogspot.fr

  • ash lee lynn

    sometimes i wonder if in a lab somewhere they’re trying to figure out the effects that all of this information overload and social networking has on our brains… certainly increases levels of anxiety, but will this be seriously detrimental? …. i contemplate as I spend my morning updating myself on my daily blog reading… incessantly overloading.

  • Courtney

    Where’s the LIKE button for this?

  • CriolloGlam

    “I LOVE YOU BECAUSE WE HATE THE SAME STUFF…”

  • BalmainCollector

    wow. the number of “I”s in this story is staggering. Take a class in writing. What a bore. Guess you don’t repel only men, but minds, too.

  • Ivana

    i really like this writing piece. great views.

  • Kelly

    This article has really reached out to me and finally put in words as to what I have been thinking. The last few months while cruising Facebook and Instagram, I find myself getting angry or upset with people’s passive aggressive behavior. Like what they like. It got so bad for a me a month ago, I deactivated my Fb account for a few weeks. I never felt better (after 5 days of shaking withdrawal!). I keep going back to the bigger picture. Why am I getting mad about the internet? As dumb as it sounds, in reality, social networking does control most of our lives, whether we like it or not. I created my Instagram account a few months back. My initial thoughts: a LOT of self-indulgence. Who cares what you’re seeing every day? Yet months later, I find myself posting pics every few days now. I’m sucked in. Facebook for me personally has gotten way over-stimulating with TMI from those I don’t even care about. I only wish social media and creating an almost alter-ego, wouldn’t be so forefront in our lives. No turning back now, gotta try and maintain some self-control, and most of all, humbleness.

  • Kelly

    This article has really reached out to me and finally put in words as to
    what I have been thinking. The last few months while cruising Facebook
    and Instagram, I find myself getting angry or upset with people’s
    passive aggressive behavior. Like what they like. It got so bad for a me
    a month ago, I deactivated my Fb account for a few weeks. I never felt
    better (after 5 days of shaking withdrawal!). I keep going back to the
    bigger picture. Why am I getting mad about the internet? As dumb as it
    sounds, in reality, social networking does control most of our lives,
    whether we like it or not. I created my Instagram account a few months
    back. My initial thoughts: a LOT of self-indulgence. Who cares what
    you’re seeing every day? Yet months later, I find myself posting pics
    every few days now. I’m sucked in. Facebook for me personally has gotten
    way over-stimulating with TMI from those I don’t even care about. I
    only wish social media and creating an almost alter-ego, wouldn’t be so
    forefront in our lives. No turning back now, gotta try and maintain some
    self-control, and most of all, humbleness.

  • http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/ Linda
  • Nick

    Ah the “like” button is what makes Facebook so great. Great tool to secretly berate people.

  • CapitalA

    turn off your computer/phone and go live a real life. YOUR life. don’t share. just live. day by day. and enjoy if you’re still able on such a retro feeling

  • Laura

    Interesting topic !

    Check out my new post :http://www.thestilettoholic.com/2012/12/05/white-in-winter

  • Freida Haoui

    This is great. I love your articles and I agree with you on so many points. Well I would “like” that. Ha! :-)

  • Gisela

    Anything in an extreme, IMO, is not good. Wether it’s extreme instagramming or extreme hugging, i.e a bear hug. A healthy balance of both can prove to be un-disconcerting, if there is such a word. lol

    I actually commented on your post today “is this cleverness cloaked in negativity?” IMO, clever….puttin’ the real shit out there :-D

  • Belén Cavas Hernández
  • Jules Fashion Week

    So cool you are in Scotland with Chanel !!! Very nice post ;)

    http://www.julesfashionweek.com

  • http://cirquedelatelier.blogspot.com/ Cirque de l’Atelier

    One can look at social media exactly has you’ve done here and try to understand it’s workings and what it says about us as a species, OR… not give it much thought or power. At the end of the day, it’s just twitter, just facebook, just instagram. Are these things really so important because they’re actually important to us, or have we created them to be important based on conversations exactly like this one?? At the end of the day, social interactions, whether physical or digital, are a fundamental part of life as humans, we’ve created a civilization that depends on it. In 10/15/20 years from now, there will be a new system of socializing that will make everything we use today as unimportant as a landline (shock and horror, people still have those!). The lengthy point I’m circling around is, the real jelly in this doughnut isn’t the medium by which we choose to interact because that will forever change, but the need of interaction at all.

  • SAMANTHAH

    I like to refer to myself as a stingy liker on IG. I only like it if i REALLY like it. And I have blocked people who like every single image of mine before. IF YOU LIKE EVERYTHING IT DOESNT MEAN ANYTHING!!!

  • kathryn

    The internet is a tool, though it feels like much more – that is old news. But I do find this ‘like’-ing sensation to be representational of nothing more that mere passing smiles, head nods, a giggle, small amusements, reassurances, or votes of agreement that we would present in ‘real’ life in a conversation, walking down the street, hey, even as inner dialogue. These small and fleeting emotions have always existed. I just think we are noticing them a lot more because they are being recorded as actions in someone’s server or satellite (forgive my lack of tech-vocabulary, I’m of the user-friendly-only group). But they are simply reactions, which we have always exhibited. It really is all relative. It’s also that this language (or lack thereof according to some) and these tools are still rather new, but hugely influential to time and to history. As a person who is nobody (in the scheme of ‘like’-measurement), I can present this viewpoint; I do not feel deflated if a photo or post does not receive likes/retweets/comments/etc, but I certainly do feel quite warm and fuzzy should I get noticed. After all, who doesn’t like to be acknowledged? As far as those who live for the validation of a million ‘like’s, well haven’t they always been around too, just in different iterations?

    • kathryn

      PS. What i’m really worried about is from all this screen-staring we do, we are all going to go blind.

  • FJM

    The new Jesus? No, the new Didion!

  • Bitchslapbitch :D

    sounds humble enough you.

  • debbywarner

    “Like”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2302887 Emily VanderBeek

    Ha – this is oh-so true. Made me think a lot. I not only am heavily involved in the internet because of blogging but I WORK in social media, which further perpetrates the situation. We’ve truly become a society of “Likes”, and yes I agree, we’ve become too nice. Starting today I’m liking less, and calling more. ;)

    Isn’t That Charming.

  • jen

    I dressed up as a self absorbed fashion blogger for halloween. All that happened is my friends told me I looked good. I blogged about it so I would get a lot more likes to boost my ego.

    here http://oururbanplayground.com/?p=638

    and here http://oururbanplayground.com/?p=768

    Good post here. I actually understand what you are talking about. ;) I usually don’t…

  • Elena

    The honesty of your comment is refreshing. I will be honest, too: in my opinion, your blog is at its best when it stays in the realm of fashion. I think you have good ideas, but your writing needs some development and maturity that will only come with the experience of publishing. I don’t consider blogging the same thing as (hard copy) publishing, because it allows anyone to write and -as you say above- feel hugely affirmed by thousands of likers. There are no editors, no peer-reviewing, and no professional critiques. (I find Jezebel entertaining and informative -and its influence in modern feminism is undeniable- but virtually every post lacks depth, proper research, editing and well, decent writing.) It would be interesting to see your thoughts properly developed in a book.

  • Lara

    http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6853117/look-at-this-instagram-nickelback-parody

    you need to watch this.:)

    On another note, I find it a little confusing that you are so critical about pretentious instagram posers , social media and the try hards profiting from it to look as cool as possible, when you’re still doing all the shit yourself. I like that you’re being honest and reflect on your own behaviour, but you’re right there still doing it. It’s kinda like a vegetarian saying it’s so stupid and pretentious to be a vegetarian. I would rather you try that SATC column thing you mentioned in an earlier post ( your gf’s dtiating life) than being so openly critical social media when in fact you wouldn’t even be here without it.
    love u though!;)

    • Lara

      ddiating=dating :S

      • Leandra Medine

        it’s probably just another nod to irony–critiquing what is the crutch of my existence :)

  • jurgita

    I think the best way it’s just no take it too serious, when starting taking all this social madness serious, than it becomes silly and dangerous.

    http://www.afterout.com

  • Cassandra

    I don’t think it’s that the internet has gotten any nicer, I just think that everyone feels the need to be zealously politically correct. I see more people getting in arguments with one another online because person A didn’t say something “right” and person B is offended and/or thinks it’s going to offend a certain group of people.

    On a slightly different note, I think that the internet has long been about anonymity. You can be whatever you want in your online persona. Want to be a bitch? No one knows it’s you, or where you live, or what you do for your day to day. Want to be a ho? Guess what… no one in your personal life will know. I’ve been through this, and while it allows for amazing release, it’s ultimately detrimental.

    That being said, Leandra, I love your blog because I always feel that it’s you being you, which is pretty fucking awesome. Instead of using the internet as a secret hiding place, you’ve used it as a billboard for yourself, your humor, your sense of style.

  • zee

    ironic that i refreshed my instagram in between paragraphs…

  • sasaha

    i like you so much right now

  • roma

    This is probably one of the best articles I’ve read all year.

  • http://twitter.com/thealoofhipster chuck n.

    leandra, you’re pretty damn awesome. i must commend you for these kind of posts! they’re definitely my favorite because they actually do force one to step back from the frivolousness of fashion, and actually think about life, and how mundane it can ridiculously be.

    thanks for the great reads!

  • phild bowles

    Hey , I just read you ,, and,, this crazy, but, you’re the , Lizzie Wurtzel of our day, baby.

  • Odelia Kaly

    Can you just like, be my mom or something Leandra? Because my own biological mother doesn’t understand the harmful effects of social media sites such as Facebook, especially for a teenage girl. Facebook used to be the bane of my existence. I got rid of mine over the summer because people were trying to make me think that I was friendless and needed to be on Facebook all the time to even exist. They were wordlessly (and sometimes quite bluntly) telling me to “Like my photo/status/album/me,” to the point where I found it embarrassing for some people to be associated with their online activity. It became depressing to check my Facebook and not have any notifications (I use the word “depressing” lightly here). That was the point at which I was like, “Fuck no, get me the hell out of here.” Funnily enough, I just wrote an article for the Huffington Post (that was also posted to my blog, You’re A Tulle, a few days prior to it being published on HuffPost) on this exact topic. It would be mega cool if you checked it out. This is the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/odelia-kaly/why-im-worried-about-soci_b_2161554.html
    Odelia Kaly
    youreatulle.blogspot.com

  • http://profiles.google.com/victorianna.walilko Victorianna Walilko

    *applause*

  • Guest

    j’adore this.

    and humble-bragging? finally a term to describe the epidemic that Facebook started. went through my tweets, blog and my status updates on facebook (guilty of still occasionally logging in -i just get the feeling that FB is soooooo 2008) and must admit i am guilty of the random and unfortunately not so rare humble-brag. spent a good 20 minutes deleting most of it. well, the more nauseating types.

    as for ironic. my sister asked me to get her a cover for her iPhone a few months back. She lives in Wales and iphone covers there aren’t as eclectic as the ones here in Kuala Lumpur.

    So i asked her what kind of design would she like.

    She said: Get me something ironic.

    Me: :-|

  • Guest

    j’adore this.

    and humble-bragging? finally a term to describe the epidemic that Facebook started. went through my tweets, blog and my status updates on facebook (guilty of still occasionally logging in -i just get the feeling that FB is soooooo 2008) and must admit i am guilty of the random and unfortunately not so rare humble-brag. spent a good 20 minutes deleting most of it. well, the more nauseating types.

    as for ironic. my sister asked me to get her a cover for her iPhone a few months back. She lives in Wales and iphone covers there aren’t as eclectic as the ones here in Kuala Lumpur.

    So i asked her what kind of design would she like.

    She said: Get me something ironic.

    Me: :-|

    zoubahar.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/ZouBahar Zou Bahar

    sorry guys. something wrong with the posting. my comments are being repeated/re-posted.

  • Alexandra

    You are such a talented writer, whats even more impressive is that the majority of the comments you receive are actually intelligent too ( no youtube arguments here). Not only do you speak out to this generation so clearly, but you give me some faith in internet humanity. Thank you.

  • Keyla Garcia

    but i “like” this. what you wrote. Good thing there’s no like button here

  • http://www.facebook.com/fabipina Fabi Pina

    An Instagram photo of someone’s very regular berry tart getting over 7,000 double clicks? It comes down to feelings of belonging and approval…or just plain ol’ laziness. I liked a few comments before typing my own because I was feeling too lazy to collect my thoughts…and then the idea of missing out scared the heck out of me. I think you’re genuinely smart and kind and this post seems to me like a big ball of “I’ll be the first to admit I’m a prisoner of approval through social media” as a way to liberate from guilt + justify the irony. It’s genius and a big ball of irony in itself!

    And this the part where I point out the blah-ness of my comment before anyone else does: it’s 2am and I’m not thinking straight. And the part where I hope no one I know reads this or they’ll find out what a Man Repeller groupie I am and my internet persona shall forever be tarnished. UGH, SO uncool.

    • Guest

      Brilliant comment. It’s a ‘like’ from me…

  • CCC

    I think the problem is that people measure Facebook against the “real world”, as if a “like” amounts to something you can perform in your everyday live. But when you look at Facebook or Instagram, it is obvious that both are virtual realities that do not have equivalents in the real world. Facebook does not equal hanging out with your friends. Instagram does not equal sharing photos with your friends. Liking on Facebook is a performative way of interacting online, which shouldn’t be confused with everyday social behavior. You may argue the stupidity of the way social activity is being quantitively measured. How popular something is is constantly being measured in black-on-white numbers (how many friends, how many followers, how may likes, how many notes and so forth), but if you look at the meaning that people put into these ways of interacting, judging etc. online, I think you will find that a lot of people don’t really care about “showing some love” by liking. Even though the quantity of likes might indicate some kind of (perhaps, wierd) value measurement, essentially a like is worth nothing. It takes 1 click and a split of a second to do, and after a minute it is most likely completely out of your system. Inflation has already hit the act of liking… it is kind of like “too much noise equals silence”. So in my opinion, what the …. Let the likes be. And people who think they are useless and stupid… Well, don’t use them. And regarding people who measure their happiness in likes or followers or what ever… Well, that I don’t even want to comment on.

    One last thing, it is not the internet which has forced some kind of evil system upon us. It is not a living thing, and it does not ask anything from us. People have to remain critical towards its products (such as Facebook), and they have to take responsibility for their own online “lives”. So if somebody feels that his/hers social media habits are getting a bit out of hand, and perhaps affecting him/her more than it should, the person shouldn’t just sit back and blame the evil external forces, but go have a look in the mirror.

  • Will Warhol

    This is spot on and I have something very similar to this on my website. I agree with your thesis wholeheartedly http://legrandemonde.blogspot.com/2012/12/there-is-no-reason-to-like-girls.html

  • Izzy

    At the hazard of sounding sappy, I have been reading Man Repeller for a while, perhaps even almost three years (I must ‘like’ you or something!). That said, I have seen it grow and change. It was never really ‘just a fashion blog’ but I feel like you have embraced that, and added more of your voice and it has become a platform for ideas that extend past fashion and an affinity for layers and mixed prints.

  • zun_zun

    This is quite possibly my favorite blogger post ever. Thank you.

    And ps…prior to this comment, I was a comment virgin. XOXO

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002985385288 Melissa Princcess

    Everyone’s always analyzing and seemingly criticizing, but it’s the same tool that made you money and ‘phamous’. social media is not going anywhere, neither are the likes. I agree with you that a thumbs up should not constitute an ambiguous comment, especially not in the name of death but its the quickest action to take when thumbing subconsciously through your smart phone. It’s the same reason you really don’t have to attend your five/ten year high school reunion because you know what everyone’s been up to, unless you really feel the need to “see” the in person, ew…. I was on the train the other day this sitting next to a 50+ yr old lady who was thumbing leisurely through her iphone. It wasn’t her email she was looking at, it was her facebook or instagram. it’s just becoming something that deals with everyone’s undetected case of ADHD.

  • http://www.facebook.com/youvicyo Victoria Yo

    And how many times do we throw “likes” at pictures of shit (figuratively speaking, of course) uploaded by people we genuinely like (you know, in real life?) just to give them a virtual hug? When a friend (that real-life kind of friend, again) does not show their positive reinforcement for the outfit you wore shopping, can this be taken as an insult? Another hole left to be filled by compete strangers, instead? The power of a “like” is scary, but so is the power of NOT “liking” something. Social media junkies are hooked on the drug of re-tweets, double-clicks and thumbs up. There may not be a bag of drugs in your pocket, but there sure as hell is a phone.

  • Anna Howe

    It scares me how ironic our generation is becoming. I can’t live without my smartphone because I too am obsessed with checking the number of likes I’ve gotten. It’s insane how such a little number so greatly affects my day.