This past weekend at Oude Kerk, the oldest church in Amsterdam, the Like was laid to rest. Mourners carried a coffin shaped like a Facebook Like button to the church and marked its passing in a ceremony led by Eddy Reefhuis.
Why? It's a symbolic rejection of what is sometimes called "hashtag activism" or "clicktivism"--substituting online actions for offline activity. The organizers of the funeral reject the notion that clicking on a Like button constitutes doing anything productive. Here's their manifesto, which is an interesting read:
Not too long ago, this development led to a miraculous occurrence. A new technology turned the act of Liking into a commodity, hence into a symbolic totem and a new belief, at a time when faith in religion and our monetary system is crumbling.
At first these "Likes" seemed innocent. A gift bestowed upon us unconditionally and in overabundance. Sometimes the Likes would pile up like presents under a Christmas tree. But soon we started craving for more and eventually the "Like" became the opium of the masses. And now society has forgotten the real act of Liking. [...]
And instead of taking action to make change happen, our activism has been reduced and confined to the square inches of our computer screen activism has become clicktivism. We express our dislike of what is happening in the real world with a Like.
We as a society need to focus on real actions and intentions, rather than the symbolic reward bestowed on things by a mouse click. We must never forget that the real reward of Liking lies amongst ourselves and inside our communities.