The 1984 reference is interesting, isn’t it?
I do want to stray from your topic just a little. Facebook has a lot of plans for the Like button. At their F8 Developers Conferences in SF and Austin, they laid out their vision for the Like button. They feel it’s too restrictive (although it is becoming an accepted way for people to interact as you stated). They want developers to replace Like with nearly anything, really.
They want you to be able to say you “Purchased” something, or that you “Tried” a food recommendation, or “Cooked” a recipe–or maybe “burned” a recipe, haha.
Personally, I do think “liking” a piece of content is a bit lazy (sort of like retweeting without comments on Twitter, though because of space constraints, it’s more acceptable there, I’d argue). But, given that people tend to operate along the paths of least resistance, mechanisms like the Like button will keep leading us down the path that you quoted. Crazy!