Saturday, July 30, 2011

The LIKE Button

Okay, I 'll just say it.

The LIKE button drives me crazy.

 It reminds me of back long ago when I was in junior high and one of my friends passed a note to a boy that I liked asking him if he liked me and there were boxes he could check.  I NEVER would have been so bold as to write such a note.  But my friend did.

The boy checked "no."

Well, of course I got over it. Eventually.

But guys, (and I am speaking mostly to you, former students of mine who read this, but maybe I am speaking to me and other writers as well), do we really need that button on EVERYTHING?

I am going to be bold now and say no.  We don't need it. You don't need it.

You don't need anyone to tell you that what you are doing is likable all the time.  You don't need someone else to approve your dreams.  You don't need the constant approval from others as long as you approve of yourself.

That's right.

You have to like yourself.  You have to believe in you and what you want to accomplish.  What you CAN accomplish.

I know many of you are dipping your toes into the social networking careful.  An artist takes inspiration wherever he/she finds it, but don't become too needy for the approval of others.  I cannot imagine an email from Vincent Van Gogh popping up in my inbox.  "Just posted new painting!  Click over and LIKE  Starry Night!"

I dunno.  I mean, Vincent sold only one painting in his lifetime.  If he cared too much about pleasing everyone, sure, he could have painted differently and sold more.

 And the world would be without some of its most incredible works of art.

Trust yourself.

Trust the artist/writer/singer/whatever that lives inside of you.

 Develop a group of friends/family/professionals that will nourish your soul and your art.

As for the masses with their fingers poised over their LIKE buttons, don't worry so much about them.

Maybe to create we need to go to that place that we can only get to when we journey alone, armed with just our courage and our dreams.  The LIKES can't go with you.  And the LIKES couldn't help you when you get there anyway.  You have to be brave to face your own creativity, to pull from it the bits and pieces of wonder, to hack away at the overgrown vines of what-everyone-else-does-or-thinks, to weave, coil, wrestle, wrangle, those pieces into something the world has never seen before.

Good luck, my friends.  Adventure awaits.

See?  This is too much awesome for a LIKE button!  Now, if they had a LOVE button......



L. Hild said...

I know this is a bit contradictory to your post... but I like this post a lot. No, I love it!! Well said :)

Rebecca Gomez said...

If there were a like button for this post, I would want to click it. But I couldn't because of the content of this post! But I still like it.

So true! We shouldn't depend on everyone "liking" everything we do and say.

Jess said...

I agree~ it's all a little too much for me. It's just another way to build paranoia. At least they could get creative and add a few more buttons: "Don't really like this, but I like YOU!" "Like, but not very much," "Reeeeeeally like, and am not just doing it so you'll babysit my kid next week--I swear!", "Like it, but could do it better myself," "Like this! Then again, I also liked Eric Wilson in high school and that didn't last, so who knows." You get the idea :)

Janet Johnson said...

Love this! (no liking here). The "like" thing drives me a little crazy, too. And VV is amazing . . .

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Shelley! You went and got all profound. I feel like posting this in front of my face. It's an incredible reminder to be true to ourselves.
I once stood in a room full of Van Gogh's work. I don't know if I ever felt anything so potent, so overwhelmingly powerful and brilliant.

erica and christy said...

While I do "like" a few things on FB, having them other places seems odd. Over on the Amazon forums, you can actually vote whether a certain post adds to the discussion - and people click no all the time, for no reason (and I'm pretty sure they're primarily adults). So odd...

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Good advice, and I love that photo! I'm pretty fond of Starry Night too!

MG Higgins said...


Creepy Query Girl said...

I'm just thankful there's no 'dislike' button! lol. But you have a great point!

storyqueen said...

L- Thanks..haha! But really, I appreciate knowing that I'm not alone. Of course, that is probably the purpose of the LIKE button--to make you feel like someone else feels the way you do. Sigh.

Rebecca-Thanks! I think the button is really there for the LIKERs, not the LIKEE, if that makes any sense.

Jess-I would definitely like the button more if there were creative options like yours!

Janet-Yes, maybe we do need a LOVE button!

Tricia-I went to the Getty to see Van Gogh's irises. I couldn't stop looking at them. I think the guard had to move me along. I had admired that painting for soooo long and to get to stand next to it was life-changing.

E and C-I don't get why people are so mean on line sometimes. Why??

Doralynn-It is one of my all time favorites. Once, I had a group of first graders enlarge it and reproduce it. It was amazing!

MG-hahahahaha! I was waiting for that!

Creepy-Maybe that's what it all stems from! I mean, if we have the like, the dislike can't be far behind. I think there already is a thumbs down on youtube.

Chris Phillips said...

Chris Phillips and 9 others like this.

storyqueen said...

Chris-Dude? Are you reading to a dog in your profile pic? Awesome.

Christina Lee said...

You wise lady, you! I like this part most of all: "The LIKES can't go with you. And the LIKES couldn't help you when you get there anyway." xo

Unknown said...

Your Van Gogh comment cracked me up and made my day!

I keep getting messages through various RWA yahoo loops asking everyone to 'like' their FB page. Apparently, if at least 25 people don't like you, then you're a loser and kicked off FB's fan pages (or whatever page it is). Oh, who came up with that brilliant idea????

Corey Schwartz said...

Vincent Van Gogh, ha, ha, ha! You're so right!

Lydia Kang said...

I totally agree. Actually, I tend to not see that "like" button anymore. I've fuzzed it out to all the background stuff on websites and posts.

Stephanie Perkins said...

One of the many, many reasons why I despise Facebook.

*hits the LOVE button on your blog*

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Excellent post. I think sometimes we get caught up in seeking approval. I know I do. We all want to feel validated, I guess. As if that somehow makes what we do worthwhile. But you're right. Who needs a like button? We shouldn't need one to feel worthy.

Lenny Lee said...

hi miss shelly! looks like lots of bloggers like your post. for sure i like it. ha ha. for me i dont never think bout if someone like my stuff cause i like it (mostly). some times i dont like what i wrote. ack! but i dont got a button i push. i say lets click dont like for the like button! :)
...hugs from lenny

Unknown said...

Sing it, Sistah! I LIKE this. (Sorry, I couldn't help it and I bet I'm not the only one.)

I'd never thought about the like button in those terms before, but you're so right. Thanks for this post!

Anne Spollen said...

Well said! And I wish it were said more often and louder.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I like the comment about having more "like" choices. All great comments!

Aleeza said...

i love this post so freaking much, shelley! just the other day i was thinking about how much i despise this whole 'like button' business, and was thinking about maybe writing up a blog post for it...but your post articulates my thoughts so well i don't think i even need to.

also, loving the blod! :)