I have a confession. I'm addicted to "Likes."
When I first joined Instagram back in...oh hell I can’t even remember when, but I know it was before 2012. I joined because I am a photographer and sharing is fun! Why is sharing fun? Because when people “ooh” and “ahh” (aka “like”) what I make (aka post), it made me feel good.
But there’s also too much of a good thing. Instagram has evolved over the years and getting followers and likes can become an obsession. Mostly this is harmless, but sometimes it isn’t.
It could be that you feel a twinge of failure when a post isn’t acknowledged the way you think it should be. So you try different things, and you (ahem...me) will spend hours reading blogs about how to get more attention on instagram.
The question that you (ahem...me) should REALLY be asking is WHY?
WHY do you (ahem..I) need to have so many likes?
Because to be honest, a “like” is not what defines you (me).
A “like” is not how good you are at <insert what you do here>.
The number of “likes” does not equal the amount of sales you make. (I know this for a fact!)
“Likes” are a polite way to smile and nod in a virtual world. Just like passing by a stranger on the street and nodding and smiling at them.
If that stranger suddenly jumped in front of you and started talking “at” you to buy their <whatever it is they are selling> you would get pissed and walk away. Or in the case of Instagram...keep scrolling.
So Instagram is looking to change this. They want people to have “meaningful engagement” in their virtual world.
Earlier this month, Instagram has begun to hide “like counts” on some accounts in the U.S.
They’ve been piloting this program in Canada since last May, and then expanded to several more countries, including Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand; and it has been a huge success.
Their reasoning is this: Instagram is taking positive actions to make the platform a safer, more inclusive space.
According to Later.com, this is, of course, represents a massive change to how Instagram and its users function. The number of likes a post gets, while not the best measure of “success,” has long been a kind of status symbol on the platform.
The “hiding” of like counts seems to be purely about helping users share more authentic content without getting caught up in the competition.
Zuckerberg said as much during his keynote, stating: “We want people to be less interested in how many likes a post gets, and focus more on connecting with other people.”
Have you noticed that your Instagram feed no longer has “likes?” How do you think this will impact the way you use Instagram? Let me know by sending me a message or commenting below.