Isn’t it interesting that some words seem to become fashionable in a manner of speaking and they are used till they are overused? The word “like” springs to mind. When I was a kid at school, we didn’t know the meaning of “love” or perhaps didn’t quite express our friendship with the other sex as being one involving love. The word that was commonly used was, ” like.”!  One often heard, “He likes her but she doesn’t like him back!!” Every culture has its own nuanced language. In our lingo of those faraway times, if the love (or like if you will) was reciprocated, it was said that “He got a ‘Yeah.” If, on the contrary, his overtures were spurned, he was said to have got “the chop!”

The other day, nearly 50 odd years after my schooldays, I was coming down in the elevator with two teenagers and happened to hear their conversation. No, I wasn’t eavesdropping, they were chatting quite oblivious to my presence so I couldn’t help hearing what they said. I wondered how they had given an entirely new meaning to the word ” like” using it as what we would call a “noise word.”

The boy said, “Like, I must tell you what she said. She went, ‘I am, like,  totally pissed off with you. You never, like, hear what I say.” The girl replied, ” Dude, she must be, like, hopping mad with you. I would stay away for a few days if I were you. Like, I know her well ok?” The communication student in me couldn’t help counting five “likes” in two sentences. There was more to follow but that’s neither here or there. How the dude planned to deal with his girl was not touched upon as we reached the ground floor by then and went our separate ways.

The word, “Like” in today’s context is deeply linked with Facebook in the minds of many. In one Facebook group, I read about a person wanting to leave the group because her posts were not getting enough “likes.” She felt people were biased against her.

It’s a well-known strategy that “likes” on Facebook can (sadly, in my opinion) be bought. Some months ago, the former Chief Minister of Rajasthan had a huge spurt in the number of “likes” in his Facebook Page. It became a big joke when others pointed out that most of the new “likes” were from people in Istanbul who had little, if anything at all, to do with Rajasthan. Let’s face it. He’s not Shakira, who, with 87 million fans has the most number of “likes” on Facebook as on April 2014.  Here’s the list of the Top 25 Facebook Pages to determine who is the Most Liked Person.

So, in conclusion, don’t be surprised if you like something in Facebook and someone replies, ” Like, I like your like.”