Above graphic: Oscopic.

Please Like Me

Likeableness is a quality of the human personality. (The quality of being clubbable, genial, agreeable, pleasant, engaging, etc.) Likeableness is the common currency of Instagram. Instagram encourages users to do and post things that are likeable--the encouragement is all bound up in the act of liking other users' likeable things.

Due to its pervasiveness (Instagram is pervasive), likeableness can be thought of as a form of social control since Instagram users tend to avoid doing things and posting things that are not agreeable, genial, engaging, etc. It's a control system based around self-censorship, or, considered another way, likeableness has become a quasi-religion (with close to a billion adherents) that is built around a cloying scene of doing and encouraging likeableness--a form of being righteous, i.e., not offensive or transgressive; interesting only, but not boring ... virtuous.

As an ex-participant in this idiot culture I still keep count of the minimum one-hour-per-day that I used to fritter away on the app--thinking about and doing likeable things. (In 2018, the nearly 400 hours that I have reclaimed has been spent reading a number of fascinating critical theory books.)

Historically, in the context of art, literature and creativity, many of the most creative persons have not been clubbable, genial, agreeable, pleasant or ....... likeable. Thinking off the top of my head the list of not-clubbable includes: Caravaggio, Dostoevsky, Kafka, J.S. Bach, Lee McQueen .... but these are just the first that come to mind. Historically speaking being likeable has not been a priority for many innovators and inventors in the field of science either.

Who came up with this spurious activity anyway? And why do so many waste so much time on it?

One of the most dumb-ass exclamations of our age is: Don't forget to like me! Or worse ... Please like me!

(14 December 2018)

Dr Russ Harris offers this somewhat convincing explanation for clubbability: in the era when humans were hunter-gatherers banding together was necessary for survival and this eventually became an entrenched instinct; humans originally needed strength in numbers, the loner could easily be picked off by wild animals. With that explanation in mind it could be argued that Instagram culture is the trace, or mark, of our hunter-gatherer roots. (Note added 15 December)