With more than 400,000 Facebook users publicly proclaiming their hatred of reading on their personal profiles, it may appear that technology is now more important to many young people than basic literacy. But a closer look reveals that this strong opinion may be nothing more than a result of the unusual culture of “liking” and “hating” found on the website.
For many Facebook users, one of the most enjoyable features of the website is the “Groups” app. Any Facebook-savvy individual can create a group to celebrate (or disparage) virtually any subject. One memorable group titled “I Will Go Slightly Out of My Way to Step on That Crunchy-Looking Leaf” has 412,090 members and the more recent page “Leggings are NOT Pants” has been “liked” by 399,845 people.
Perhaps frustrated by the continuing lack of a “dislike” button on Facebook (the “Dislike Button” group has 3,309,517 “likes”), people often dedicate groups or pages to things they hate. There are, incredibly, Facebook users who claim to hate puppies, candy and reading.
What is the point of an “I Hate [Insert Subject]” Facebook page? Blogger Jason Boog from GalleyCat suggests that kids list “I Hate Reading” on their Facebook pages to prove to their friends that they don’t like to study or to avoid looking nerdy. Anyone who clicks the like button on an “I Hate” page probably doesn’t actually hate the subject in question. Irony doesn’t translate well in the virtual world, and the penchant for “liking” and “hating” is just another phenomenon of Facebook culture.
There are fortunately plenty of “I Love Reading” pages on Facebook, and one of them currently has 17,421 “likes.” The Facebook generation hasn’t lost touch with the world of books — they just have the ability to express strong opinions online — and books, puppies and leggings are all fair game for criticism.
Photo credit: Thos Ballantyne