Instagram Likes

  Instagram is finally going to hide people's number of likes, taking the weight off of a lot of people's shoulders while simultaneously bringing panic to others. I have been an advocate for turning off "likes" like you can turn off comments- I think the idea of what "likes" mean has changed since I first started Instagram but not for the better. People feeling like they need validation, or that they're a failure in any way due to the number of likes they did or didn't receive should never have mattered as much as it does to some. When I first joined Instagram, I saw commenting and liking photos as more of a pat on the back or a head nod of appreciation. I today see it more as a nod of support towards whatever post, friend, or influencer that I'm liking the photo of. Back then, it was used like Facebook- most people were private and only their friends saw their pages so that made more sense. Mine was always public, I posted to whoever wanted to see the silly photos I took with my little camera in my free time. It wasn't until I started to hear about Instagram at my school did I realize that people were starting to use it as a popularity contest. I, myself, had a bit of a following after befriending people who had a lot more followers than me. I hit ten thousand followers and then all of a sudden the girls who were considered popular wanted to talk to me, invited me to parties I posted about them, asked how I got those followers. One girl even grabbed my phone at a party one night then proceeded to follow herself and her best friend off of my account. When I unfollowed her a few days later, she confronted me about it like I had just kicked her cat and called her mother ugly. Time went on and, as we all know, once you hit ten thousand followers they sort of just keep coming. People saw that number as something special, so of course, they started to look at the number of likes someone got as special too. This continued to be a thing that followed me at college parties. As well as the streets of Clifton where I'd be called out by name and then approached by strangers who followed me on Instagram. None of this became a problem until the whole idea of being an Instagram Influencer became such a weird obsession with everyone. It went from people wanting to actually talk to me and befriend me because if a few thousand people thought I was cool, maybe they would too, to harassing questions.

  Keeping my phone number private at parties used to be something I found hard to handle by pushy guys who didn't get I wasn't interested. But when it came to people bombarding me about Instagram in ways that just weren't friendly or nice, it made me resent some people. Now don't get me wrong, I love talking to people about Instagram, the artistic side and the analytical side. But when it comes to people bugging you about the analytical side just so they can make as much cash as possible, with no real substance behind anything they but their ears hearing the word money, it just doesn't sit well. Instagram was made to be a platform for people to share their photos, their memories, their stories through pictures. It slowly became this thing where people ended up getting anxiety, feeling pressured, depressed, stressed the fuck out, and more. If you look at my Instagram in 2018 to now, I truly barely post on my feed because the pressure of posting something "perfect" is too much. I've had to personally pull back a lot because it made me more upset than happy. Hence why I love the idea of Instagram hiding the number of likes or views posts get. I created a whole second Instagram account because I'd rather have 100 followers or 30 likes on a photo I'm actually happy with. I'm slowly moving that mindset over to my main account now that I feel more clear minded with life and what I want to do with my platform.

  Instagram's head, Adam Mosseri, said it himself perfectly. "We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they're getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with people that they care about." That's perfect, right? That's what I've been doing this last year on top of bettering my own life. You can of course still view your own number of likes, which truthfully I wish we could turn off too optionally, but everyone else seeing your feed won't catch them. They are also trying to make the number of followers less emphasized, again a fantastic idea, but it's truly the content that people should be caring about. With so much anxiety and isolation seeming to fuel social media, I really think Instagram is doing something great that other social media platforms should start testing out. We are the first generations to really have these social media platforms- no one taught us how to use them and even doing so is a learning process. I think that if Instagram truly does implement this feature outside of Canada, where it is currently testing it, it'll be extremely beneficial. The number of likes and followers can be bought, everyone knows this nowadays. Plus anyone can be an influencer at any number now with micro-influencers being more prominent as of recently too. What differs from influencer to influencer though is their content. The niche it follows, the amouunt they post, what they say, and the quality of the content. As I slowly see more and more people using Instagram to acutally say something to their platform- I think this idea of hiding the likes will also help amplify that. Focusing more on the photos, videos, captions, and message or idea behind the post will come back to the surface of the app like it did in the begining. As someone considered an influencer, I welcome it because truthfully, I would rather be happy with a whole post itself than worry about the numbers it received or didn't receive, but that's just me.

My Instagram

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