What Instagram’s ‘no-like’ update actually means for you
Well, the madmen actually did it. Following a test run in a few countries, Instagram has begun updating across the world to not publicly show how many likes individual posts get. From now on, only the user who posted the Instagram content will get to see how many likes it gets, so be prepared for a bit of a panic amongst your (aspiring) influencer friends. Once again, one of our writer’s (ill-advised) decision to major in Sociology pays off, so buckle up for a couple of hot takes.
It’s obvious that Instagram is removing likes to try to navigate a serious issue, which is the association of self-worth with validation on social media. Fair enough, we know people that have deleted the app because the didn’t enjoy the anxiety that comes with seeking out likes.
More still have created ‘finstas’ which allow them to ‘truly’ express themselves without damaging their public image. Personally, we dealt with it by saying to heck with our public image, and post the most random images we can find for laughs. It’s like a meme page, but it’s really our lives.
Heads up- it’s not great for job prospects, we’re still wondering how we got this job anyway. (Hint: we only shared our handle after getting hired).
But, if our own neurosis is at all applicable, this is a bandaid over a pretty large wound. First, you can still see how many people like your own posts, so this whole ‘1 person and others’ kind of falls by the wayside. Additionally, you can scroll through how many people like your friends’ posts, which allows for snap judgements to be made just based off of that.
But, we do see the value in that not being too public- like we said, maybe people will start to take their online personas less seriously. Trust us, it’s a freeing experience.
Of course, a major hangup we have is that we don’t really care how many people like our posts. In fact, we would prefer that our friends or influencers following us liked them instead of randoms on da web. So, that’s still a little bit of an issue. Ruh-roh.
If Instagram truly wanted to fix the problem, they would have to eliminate all the ways in which one Instagram account can be compared to another. Get rid of followers, no likes, private comments… Essentially, no validation of any sort.
But we don’t think that’s going to happen. Instagram relies on influencers and corporations selling products and ads to grow. What happens when there are no metrics to judge success by?
Our recommendation for the average person? Don’t worry about it. If 100 people or 10 people like your photo, it’s not going to change your experience at dinner, or a concert, or whatever. Life is hard enough without worrying about what other people think.
Technology has not changed the game, it’s just updated the rules.