Why I choose to "be born" on Social Media the day Instagram went "like-free" and I am happy about it
Updated: Sep 29, 2019
I created my first Social Media on the day Instagram started its test to hide numbers of likes and how this release the pressure of producing catchy vs. quality content
I created Diary of an XX Chromosome Instagram account on the day Instagram started expanding its test to hide the visibility of the number of likes on contents. While I will still be able to see these numbers, my followers won't.
Bad timing you might think?
I loved it.
It felt like a sign.
I thought: "This is the perfect day "to be born" on Social Media and to open my brand new account".
I have have been holding on the Diary domain for over a year now and somehow always refrained to open any Social Media account. Why? Because of the pressure entailed into opening an account, which for me can be summarized as follow:
Getting followers: how do you go from 0 to your 1000 followers? Short of buying those followers (which I won't as this is an authentic channel and if it takes time and patience to grow it, so be it), this seemed like a bothersome and lengthy endeavor to embark on.
Publishing content consistently: in order to get the above-mentioned followers, you have to publish new content consistently. Like everyday kind of consistently, possibly multiple times a day. As if.
Producing catchy content: not only you have to publish consistently, you have to publish things that will attract likes from your followers. It is not enough to publish random stuff, the goal is to get followers to engage with you and actively put likes on your content.
So while I still have to take care of point (1) and (2), after all, one has to know its limitation, Instagram solved for me point #3: producing catchy content. We all know that there is power in numbers: the more a post gets likes, the more I am tempted to add likes myself, because I am bound to think this might be a great content, even though I might not agree. Of course, the reverse is also true, I might think something is great but because it doesn't have much likes to speak of, I am more likely to refrain from liking it myself.
If I am the only one that is able to see the numbers of likes my post generate, I remove the pressure from my followers and from myself. Instagram is setting us free to like what we want when we want and I can focus on producing content that I really like as opposed to content I think my followers might like.
This is why I finally decided to open up my first Social Media account.
Does it mean the pressure and the stress is completely off? Unfortunately not, but for sure it feels good to have one less thing to worry about and apparently Instagram is thinking along the same lines.
Why is Instagram is hiding the number of likes from posts?
Instagram says it’s “because [they] want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.” At the time of this writing, Instagram is currently testing in 7 Countries: Canada, Irland, Italy, Brazil, Japan, New Zeland and Australia. According to TechCrunch, which also announced that Facebook, Instagram's parent company, is also considering start testing hiding likes:
"The idea is to prevent users from destructively comparing themselves to others and possibly feeling inadequate if their posts don’t get as many Likes. It could also stop users from deleting posts they think aren’t getting enough Likes or not sharing in the first place."
Instagram is possibly playing ahead of future backlashes. Studies increasingly shown the negative influence social media have on mental health. In particular, limiting the use of social media is linked to a decrease in loneliness and depression.
According to this Harvard study:
" Rewarding social stimuli—laughing faces, positive recognition by our peers, messages from loved ones—activate the same dopaminergic reward pathways. Smartphones have provided us with a virtually unlimited supply of social stimuli, both positive and negative. Every notification, whether it’s a text message, a “like” on Instagram, or a Facebook notification, has the potential to be a positive social stimulus and dopamine influx."
Influencers vs. Instagram
Understandably enough, influencers are none too happy about this test. Companies are known to look at numbers of likes rather than at numbers of followers, which is easily bought, to gauge the engagement of the people around a certain influencer. Without the numbers of likes being public this might be more difficult. Additionally getting less likes and engagement effects also Instagram's algorithmic feed.
A new era for Social Media?
Quality over quantity. The freedom to post what you want without worrying and stressing about how many likes your post will get.
Is this a new era for social media? Maybe or maybe not, for sure it takes some of the pressure off to be post-perfect at all times and to think less about how many likes you will get as opposed to what you want to publish.
I am looking forward to see the results of this test and how this will play out when and if Instagram decides to roll out hiding likes to all its users worldwide.
The Diary is watching.