The latest rumours are surrounding Instagram, who are supposedly trialling out a new version of the app where post likes aren’t visible to its followers. However, you can still see the number of likes you’ve gained on your personal posts. Rumour has it, a tester of this prototype feature has shared Screenshots on Twitter advertising how the alleged ‘new’ way of seeing likes would appear. Instead of it displaying a numerical total and names, rather it would just show as a username of a single follower (most likely the latest) who liked the post and then followed by ‘others’. The sharer of the post would be able to select where it says ‘others’ for it to then bring up a list of names of whom had liked the post.
Has Instagram finally realised the impact upon self-esteem and mental health that the pressure of gaining an ‘acceptable’ total of likes on a post has on users? Both males and females in contemporary society have developed a new sense of requirement for social validation, due to the pressures surrounding their reputation and popularity on social media. Can taking away the visibility of likes on other’s posts pull back the damage of individuals comparing themselves to others or the belief of not being good enough?
Here we can see that ‘Insta Famous’ Zoe Sugg gets over 122,000 likes for a post that lots of us have probably posted something similar too… We didn’t get 122,000+ likes for ours, did you?
This really highlights where the pressure can begin for Instagram users. Especially users who are vulnerable and more likely to compare themselves to Influencers.
A few years ago, a Royal Society for Public Health Study in the UK suggested that “social media may e fuelling a mental health crisis’ in young people. However, the same researchers in the UK study also said that sites like Instagram can be beneficial. In particular having a positive effect on self-expression and self-identity. A trial run of a ‘likeless’ Instagram could highlight these benefits.
This new way of seeing likes on Instagram would most definitely promote the concept of focusing upon the content shared rather than how many likes the content has achieved, ultimately relieving some pressure. Instagram should experience benefits too in the sense that its users should naturally concentrate more on interacting with the app and sharing content, rather than posting for the sole purpose of gaining likes. It has been noticed that users regularly delete content when they don’t receive ‘enough likes’, and this certainly was not Instagram’s initial objective. Instagram’s mission statement being:
“We’re building Instagram to allow you to experience moments in your friends’ lives through pictures as they happen”.
The app was created purely for enjoyment and the ability to follow the lives of your loved ones, today there is definitely a different persona surrounding the app!
To finish up, the majority of individual’s have taken to this news in a very positive light agreeing that it would help to alleviate the pressure and anxiety surrounding likes. In contrast, some people hold beliefs that it could have the opposite effect, therefore damaging self-esteem and anxiety further, as some individuals gain some form of confidence boost through receiving likes on Instagram and others being able to witness their popularity. Further, there have been a few mentions of the difficulties this new way of seeing likes may hold for businesses and influencers using the app. Could it have a negative impact upon the marketing of businesses whom use the Instagram platform, will Instagram loose business?
When weighing up the pros and cons of the likes feature, what will Instagram decide? Will they work out a way to suit all individuals, businesses and influencers?
Let’s hope so.