How to Be Liked by Everyone Online

Excerpt from this article:

…Yet now I am told every day, sometimes by the minute, that someone is following me, and that this is good news. Person You’ve Never Heard Of is following you, Facebook announces with a ping. Guy You Went Out With Just Once 10 Years Ago is following you, Twitter says. You have 15,000 followers. This, we are meant to understand, is favorable and flattering.

The Internet — once again — has upended social and psychological norms. Linguistically speaking, what was formerly undesirable or just unpleasant is now highly sought after. To be “linked,” in a previous life, suggested something illicit — an affair or a possible crime associating His Name with Yours. But in Internet World, linking is a professional asset.

…And what has become of the sweet little word “share”? For children, sharing is a rare selfless act, a giving of oneself and one’s Halloween candy, a sacrifice. Even for adults, sharing has historically been considered a commendable activity, no matter the tangled motivations. Sharing in Internet parlance? Pure egotism. Check out my 6-year-old on the viola. Don’t you wish you were this attractive at 41? It’s such a drag maintaining waterfront property during the winter months.

…Words that have perfectly lovely meanings in the real world will inexplicably lose their luster online. Most people think long and hard about their favorite movie, novel, people and even color. Online, favorites are not so special. To “favorite” (now a verb) something on Twitter is to say, in effect, “I saw this thing and liked it O.K., but not enough to retweet it.” Or a tepid “I see you wrote something about me and I will acknowledge that by favoriting. But expect nothing more.”