We’ve grown lazier than ever, to appreciate something on the likes of Facebook simply requires a click. ‘Like’. Coining a phrase *insert name here* likes this and applying it in real-life situations, has the ‘like’ gone too far?

It came to my attention this week about the ‘dislike’ option on a number of websites and a student forum. Thestudentroom.co.uk or TSR as it is known online is a student forum home to an array of threads on completely diverse topics. Whilst in the past one could simply ‘rep’ another user for a specifically potent or meaningful post, TSR has expanded their realms of liking and appreciation; and introduced a ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ option that allows all users to positive or negatively rate what other users have posted. Naturally the ‘troll’ forums get an influx of negative clicks, consequently leaving the user with a significantly negative reputation, marked by x amount of red  blocks next to the name (depending on how much negative clicks have been assigned). Alarmingly this is on display for all users to see….when opinion is still free and welcomed,  I can’t help but question the nature of the negative option.

In real life it is frowned upon to openly verbally or physically attack someone. (Thank the law), however online is a completely differently playing field. Who knows whether ‘cybershield27 is a beefy, sportsman student killing some spare time posting on student forums or whether they are in fact an angry, belittled character abusing the distance from their online and offline lives and essentially succumbing to behaviour that could infact be noted as cyberbullying.

When does an honest ‘I do not agree with your post so I will neg rep your comment’ turn into a personal and online vicious attack? It is true, opinions are relative and can fall under scrutiny, however with neg repping so easily accessible and readily available it seems there is a notable rise in ‘negative reps’ that I fear could spiral out of control in the future.

Whilst Facebook users thrive on the ‘like’ button, perfect for the “I just whacked a Nun in the shins with my newly purchased suitcase. I’m going to Hell” statuses (true story by the way), there is no option (yet) to ‘dislike’ things. Statuses including the likes of “not feeling well” are often greeted with comments of ‘dislike’ and the infamous sad-face smiley. I am grateful and relieved Facebook has not introduced a dislike option, as it is openly creating the path for even more negativity to flow throughout the online kingdom. Either that or I’m just bitter that someone negatively repped me for something I said. What do you think?