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When Did ‘Dislike’ Become the New ‘Like’?
By: Melody Weister
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A peculiar behavior seems to have seized hold of my news feeds lately, not only on Facebook, but also on sites like Tumblr, Google+, and other miscellaneous blogs that I follow. New products of all kinds continuously appear, only to be shredded by both critics and amateur reviewers alike. It doesn’t happen only in the world of technology, although the examples in that area are the most prominent; it happens now with each new movie release and television series debut, as if the plethora of information accessible to us has turned us all into jealous kindergarteners, arguing on the playground about whose toy is better. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it occurred, but it’s as if “I hate it,” is the new “I love it,” or, to put it in terms that Facebook would use, “dislike” has become the new “like.”

Recently, I had the pleasure of going to see Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter in 3D. I’d seen trailers and done a little reading on it beforehand, and the movie exceeded my expectations, considering its genre. Not surprisingly, the reviews flooding the internet were disparaging. I’m not sure what people expected — personally, I went to the theatre expecting to see a young Abe Lincoln killing vampires with an axe, and that’s what I got. I wasn’t expecting an Aaron Sorkin film, filled with conversational complexity and stirring motivational speeches. (I won’t get into how much I love Sorkin’s new series, Newsroom, which debuted to equally horrific criticism by authors who don’t understand Sorkin’s idealism). But positive reviews are less enjoyable for people to read than scathing ones; Pixar’s Brave was predetermined to come away with all the allotted rave reviews for Monday morning, and thus poor Abe fell prey to the sharp teeth of movie reviewers.

Even more prominent in this fad of hating everything new is the world of technology, where the persistent battle of Android vs. iOS has taken the place of Mac vs. PC. This war has grown so divisive that people don’t bother to give new products a chance anymore if they aren’t running the “desired” operating system. I see it everywhere, from every side. Apple showcases new MacBooks, and Team Android does nothing but criticize. Microsoft releases a new tablet running Windows RT and Windows 8, and Team iOS immediately accuses them of stealing the idea from the iPad — which has become their battle cry with every new tablet release, countered beautifully in this article by executives at Samsung. It’s everywhere.

Frankly, I’ve become exhausted by this pattern of behavior, even though I’ve admittedly engaged in it myself. There’s no joy in telling people that they’re wrong for liking a new gadget, or a new movie, or a new television series; no pleasure comes from shredding the innovations of one company just to make ourselves feel better because our new toy suddenly looks less shiny. I think the new MacBooks look fantastic — entirely inaccessible to those of us with moderate salaries and bills to pay, but still fantastic. I think the Microsoft Surface tablet is beautiful and innovative, and a step forward for the development of Windows in its entirety, even if it’s not perfect for me personally. I won’t find excuses to tear either of those apart just because I prefer to use Android, and I won’t engage in this practice of “which side are you on?” as far as that world goes. This isn’t sports. There isn’t a technology playoff series, and I’m not rooting for anybody to win. I’m fascinated by the world itself and the developments that continually emerge. Reviewers need to celebrate successes on all fronts, not just the popular ones. Perhaps the tendency to overshare has made us cynical, and perhaps harsh reviews attract more attention than positive ones, but perhaps it’s time to change that standard.

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About the Author
Melody Weister is a technology aficionado, unashamed smartphone geek, and casual gamer from Montclair, NJ, where she works as a Social Media Coordinator. Follow her on Twitter: @msmelodyrose.
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