Buttons of Disconnect

Approval. Agreement. Gratitude. An indication of interest…

There’s a wide spectrum of reasons to like, heart, or thumbs up posts and it feels next to mandatory to do so. Almost automatic. It’s a way to react to the world – to what others think and do. In fact, there’s so much to observe, approve, and disapprove, it’s often forgettable that apart from reacting, one can also act.

Since there are now buttons that can completely replace the composition of messages and even real-life interactions, it’s convenient for people to use shortcuts. A click is no doubt easier than reaching out to somebody and congratulating them for an accomplishment or an idea, but at the same time far from radiating authenticity.

We are silently replacing natural social behaviours with easy-to-press buttons, halting the many advantages of true interactions. Doing so does not strengthen relationships but makes both sides prone to indifference, slowly disconnecting us from one another.

Would a friend or an acquaintance truly realise our appreciation or support through a like? Or any other reaction button? What if we were to stop ‘reacting’ and instead became better in our acknowledgement of others by actually reaching out?

‘Hi Brian, I saw you got the job! Big congrats! I’m happy for you!’

It does take more time and effort to write, or better yet – make a phone call. But is that a reason enough not to keep relationships healthy? Or to make somebody feel recognised and cared about – more somebody than the moment before? It does take some energy, but it’s far more powerful than an awkward aim at a button.

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