It feels like every day, Twitter picks one tweet to get mad/sad/annoyed about, and that tweet drives the dreaded discourse of the day. This particularly slow Friday, it’s Tim Tebow’s benign but pretty lame suggestion that social media platforms change their “Like” buttons to “Respect” buttons.
“Would you rather be respected or liked?,” the former NFL QB and current minor league baseball player asked. “Imagine if we didn’t have “Like” buttons, but instead, we had “Respect” buttons. Would you rather have 110 Likes or 34 Respects?”
Now, Twitter is the go-to app for random musings, but this is actually not a random musing, but something Tebow put a lot of thought into! He actually blogged about it on his personal site, urging his followers to “make a team effort to not seek to be liked, but to seek to be respected.” Unfortunately, Tebow’s now viral tweet is missing that important context and therefore has provided people with the perfect opportunity to dunk on him all day.
Frankly, a lot of these dunks are not family friendly, so I am unable to include them in this post. Please comb through them for yourself.
What’s hilarious about this tweet though is Tebow’s fundamental misunderstanding of social media and especially Twitter. No one is on these platforms to be respected. We’re not tweeting our every thought or posting highly filtered selfies or outrageous political memes because we want the respect of strangers and loved ones alike, Tim. We’re all on these cursed platforms because our egos are bottomless, self-serving pits and they need to be fed constantly by little red hearts and retweets because WE NEED TO BE LIKED, TIM. Our narcism demands it! Our self worth depends on it! No one cares about respect. If we cared about respect we’d actually take Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and whatever else off our phones and, I don’t know, maybe read a book or talk a walk or volunteer or hug a puppy or something.
Gaining respect from Twitter specifically would be like gaining respect from a hungry bear chasing you through the woods. The entire point of the enterprise is not respect, but to eat you alive.
“Regardless of what you decide to share with the world, let’s make a team effort to not seek to be liked, but to seek to be respected,” Tebow wrote on his blog. He then urged his fans to text him for some “healthy conversation,” surely because he only craves their respect, and not their likes.