“Like Totally” vs. the Like Button

Like: A Word Between Generations!

I was on my way to work when I had this strange thought. Like Totally vs. Like Button. Like:  One word … two generations … different uses.

The like of my childhood comes from Valley Girl the 1982 song by Frank Zappa.

Valley Girl (film)

Valley Girl. She’s a Valley Girl. Valley Girl. She’s a Valley Girl. Okay, fine. Fer sure, fer sure. She’s a Valley Girl. And there is no cure. Okay, fine. Fer sure, fer sure. She’s a Valley Girl. And there is no cure … You know me, I’m like into like the clean stuff. Like PAC-MAN and like, I don’t know. Like my mother like makes me do the dishes. It’s like so GROSS. … Like all the stuff like sticks to the plates. And its like, it’s like somebody else’s food, y’know. It’s like GRODY… GRODY TO THE MAX. I’m sure. It’s like really nauseating. Like BARF OUT. GAG ME WITH A SPOON. GROSS. I am SURE. TOTALLY…”

The song later gave way to Valley Girl the movie circa 1983 with Nicholas Cage. It’s like one of my favorite teen flicks from like the 80s. And being from Southern California, I was like totally one of those girls, like for sure. Like were you?The word like was an intentional “um”. It filled the gaps between words. It meant multiple things. It was like way cool. Like totally tubular. And, unfortunately, it took me like years to like work it out of like my vocabulary. Like you know?

There are some similarities to another era gone by e.g. Maynard G. Krebs of the Dobie Gillis TV show or even Shaggy of Scooby Doo.

Some may consider it wasted words. Not useful, just popular culture. For me I look back on this cultural phenomenon with fondness. Like enough reminiscing already.

It still gets used in this way by this generation but it’s less intentional. Their true like comes in a different form.

facebook like button

facebook like button (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

For this generation it’s the like button. The like button is a way of sharing your opinion or showing support and loyalty. It acts as an acknowledgement. It’s the “amen” corner in the church of “you feel me?”

“Like me on Facebook.” Some of you may even choose to like this post. Click to like is an important part of the culture today.

Even my 7 year old (soon to be 8) wants to be a part of it. He knows its importance.

He is in the process of building his birthday gift list. He’s researching possible Power Rangers Samurai toys on Amazon (with my supervision of course). He keeps asking if he can add things to the cart and when we tell him no, he wants to know, “When can I get my own cart?” We all know that answer, “When you get a job.”

But last night he asked me, “Mom, can I click on like for this Bull Zord?” So we had to have the conversation about how the like button works. How he would need his own Facebook page which he’s too young to have. Instead he’s decided he’ll start a blog or website (still too young). I guess that’s one way he can access a like button. Amazing isn’t it?

I wonder if the social media generation will look back on the like button with the same fondness and nostalgia that I have for the age of the valley girl. What do you think? Will the like button just be a phase in our history as valley girl speak has been? I believe it will be around longer.
What a difference a generation makes!

What other words or phrases or attitudes have morphed into something new based on how each generation represents it? I’d love to hear what you come up with.

Like totally have like a great day and like click the like button …

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Comments

  1. Ha! I like totally love this! For sure. : )

  2. I like totally liked this post. And I absolutely like agree with you. Took me like a long time to like get my speech back in order. And now I’m like going back to my like, old ways. Hahaha…

  3. This is totally, like, awesome! My dad made me pay 10 cents for every like in a sentence. He was an English teacher and it was like nails on a chalkboard for him. I was one poor teenager. 🙂 I think the like button is going to become even more ubiquitous – the more you can say with the least effort seems to be the way to these days. Thus, the need for pretty paper and pretty pens. 🙂 As far as generations go, they remake everything now – A new version of Robocop is coming out – it wasn’t even good the first time around! Ha! And neon – ugh….please say it ain’t so. Thanks for another great post!

    • Thanks for reading Jenni. I agree the like button has a long life ahead of it. As for Robocop … I can’t believe it. I saw posters for it at the movies. Not sure it will make my list.

  4. I am waiting for the “Hate it” button. I need THAT a LOT more.

  5. Phil Hanson says:

    Totally like this, Gail. You have such a sence of humor! And I can’t imagine you as a Valley Girl. I don’ like to think about it–the mother of my grandsons . . .

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