Maybe Mark Zuckerberg should consider changing the onscreen color of Facebook from blue to green: Envy would appear to be the biggest emotion the social media site inspires, if you believe recent academic studies that have characterized “Facebook depression” as a real 21st century phenomenon. This new strain of unhappiness springs from an ancient fear –– namely, that everyone is having more fun than you are.
To responsibly address the “Facebook depression” public health crisis, it’s high time Zuckerberg and Co. grant a long-requested wish: Like YouTube, Facebook should have a “dislike” option. Not only would petty contrarians (like me) feel more at home there, it would make the experience more informative and less ego-inflating for everyone.
No doubt the FB powers have resisted the “dislike” call because they fear the site will devolve into recrimination and anarchy. But a new policy should accompany the new option: You can’t “unfriend” someone until six months after you’ve friended them. Which means, just like in real life, you’d have to spend considerable time with people and opinions that bug you. Which also means, just like in real life, you’d be choosier about your social contacts rather than indiscriminately racking up humongous friend tallies to impress people who visit your page.
I have a dream that Facebook will one day welcome cranks, naysayers and pessimists like the rest of the internet does. Renew the campaign for a “dislike” button and make everyone happier. By making the whole site less fake-happy.