Monday, July 23, 2012


Just look at this word. If it hasn't become strange already, just try saying it out loud ten times. Now that you've experienced what I think they call Semantic Satiation, we can move on to what I had to say.

'Like' has got to be one of the most abused/overused words of the English language. It started innocently enough.

"I like ice cream."
"They don't like you."
"She likes to dance barefoot in the rain."
"She does not like catching a cold."
"He likes men."
 But then..
"You mean he likes likes them?" Yeah, likes likes.

Like-like used to be a phrase that described affection beyond the platonic realm. I like-like you means I like you more than, say chocolate. Okay, maybe that's a bit too much, I like you more than I like Mad Men, more than I like coffee, more than myself, but I can't call it love yet. I don't just like you, I like-like you. *Blush*

That was then, and what is now is 'like!' and 'super-like!'. Not 'I like this'. Not 'I really like this'. Those have been permanently replaced by the like button, 'like!' (for when the like button is not there: g+ I look at thee) and 'super-like' (for when the like button is just not enough to express how much you like)

I mean, FB's great and all. It keeps me updated with what everyone around the world is up to. I will know that that girl from college got married. I know who's got married to whom. I know who's going to which city to study what. I know who ran what marathon.

But this 'like' has again changed in meaning. I feel like it has become less of a tool of appreciation, and more of an ACK signal - I looked at your photograph. I'm in touch with you. Yay. Very often, I feel obligated to 'like'. To be part of a social circle, you cannot just play the role of the passive observer. So if you like your privacy and don't want to put that out for the world, then you like. Even though in most cases, I do generally like it, 'like' has lost its sheen and now I think I'm just playing catch up.

What do you think?


Ashish said...

Mmm.. I think 'Like' still means 'I like you/it', although yeah there are instances where it is sort of misused. Definitely, the ones on FB which say: "Hit the like button if you this Pig is cute!". I've never been able to figure out the motivation behind those ones.

The 'Like' on FB has definitely made expressing your liking for something/someone easier. How many times will you take the pain to call someone or even type in a mail saying "I like your photo!"? Also, given that we "Like" too often and too much now, I think "Like"="Slightly Like/Above average" and "Super Like"="Like". Does that make any sense? :)

Ashish said...

And while we are talking about "Like", it does remind me of the overuse/misuse of the term in another context, in the most casual sense... "I mean like..", just like "you know".

It gets like so much of an overdose sometimes that you feel like what the hell's happening dude! Why is this guy like keeping on saying 'like' without like making any sense!

Rach said...

About the 1st comment - that totally makes sense! And yeah, second comment: I meant to write about that too. It's an annoying habit when people string together all their words with 'like'.