Have you heard Instagram’s big news?? The Facebook-owned company is considering removing the ‘like’ counting feature in an effort to decrease the competitiveness and negative mental health effects of their platform. They’ve already been running ‘like’-free trials in other countries, like Canada and Japan, and now select U.S. users will experience an Instagram world without ‘likes’ as well (how these “select users” are determined remains a mystery, however, as articles are very vague about this aspect of Instagram’s plan). To be clear, this doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be able to ‘like’ your favorite photos, or even check how many ‘likes’ your own photos receive. It simply means others won’t be able to see that little black number (or if you’re lucky, big number) beneath each of your photos.
So what does this mean for bloggers/influencers and the good ol’ fashioned socialites of Instagram? To be honest, I have no idea. This possible change leaves me with a lot of questions, including—but not limited to—the following:
- If ‘likes’ are no longer a thing, does that mean bots and fake Instagram ‘liking’ services will cease to exist as well? I assume no—there will probably still be a market to purchase fake followers, even if ‘likes’ are no longer relevant. But boy let me tell you, it would be a joy to no longer receive spammy emails offering “100 ‘likes’ on every post, guaranteed” blah blah blah.
- How will influencers continue to work with brands? Since I haven’t made a single cent off this blog yet, I can’t call myself an influencer (sad day), but as I understand it, ‘likes’ are used for two things in the business of influencing: to show a potential partnering brand that you have a significant following and enough engagement to make an ad campaign worthwhile, as well as to show brands how well your campaigns perform after partnering together. If brands can no longer see your ‘likes’, will they just rely on comment numbers and followers to decide whether to partner with you? Or will influencers and brands have to find new ways to work together? From the extensive 10 minutes of research I compiled while taking a bath last night, it seems like this question has posed some issues for the other countries already piloting this change.
- How will removing the ‘like’ feature affect who double taps which content? I wonder if people either actively or subconsciously choose to ‘like’ photos that already have a lot of ‘likes’, just because that post appears popular, rather than ‘liking’ the photos with the best/most relatable content. In other words, does seeing the number of ‘likes’ act as a form of peer pressure that entices followers to double tap more often (or, in my case, when a post has so few ‘likes’, does seeing that itty-bitty number make them want to ‘like’ my post even less)? A lot of the chatter on the internet speculates that removing the ‘like’ feature will indeed boost quality content by removing the ‘like’ popularity contest, which would in turn bring Instagram closer to its roots—a social media platform to share photos with family and friends, rather than a competitive market for self-promotion.
- Will the removal of ‘likes’ affect the algorithm? I’m no Instagram expert (I know, my 750 followers make that hard to believe), but I thought the mysterious algorithm pushes posts with the most engagement (i.e. ‘likes’ and comments) to the top of the feed. So without this quintessential way to measure engagement, will the algorithm and the composition of our feeds change, and if so, how? The world may never know (cue the narrator of the Tootsie Pop owl commercial).
So all in all, I can’t peer into a magic crystal ball and tell you the answers to all of these questions. But I CAN tell you that as a blogger with a small Instagram following, I like the idea of removing ‘likes’. Maybe if other people can’t see how few ‘likes’ my posts get, then I’ll seem more legit as a blogger? Lol. Jokes aside, I often feel disappointed by the number of ‘likes’ my posts receive, and I feel even worse when I start comparing my pictures to the posts of other bloggers (and even normal people who just have insane amounts of followers—so that’s what being popular looks like). I think removing ‘likes’ would make Instagram a more enjoyable experience for me and allow me to tap into more creativity, rather than feel bogged down by social comparison. What do you think?
To read more of my thoughts on social media and Instagram, check out the blog posts below:
What are your thoughts on the possible change to Instagram? Do you like the idea (yay puns) or do you think removing the ‘like’ feature defeats some of the purpose of Instagram? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend and are enjoying some of the current sales. I promised myself I would save all my money for some upcoming trips, so it’s very difficult for me not to shop right now!! Anyway, have a good Cyber Monday; it will be a good test of how much self-control you have.
Miles of smiles,
Red Textured Top: Liz Claiborne via JCPenney, $18 // Black Pleather Jacket: Gracie’s Boutique in Denver, $25 // Skinny Jeans: Francesca’s, $20 // White Studded Mules: Rebecca Minkoff via Saks Off Fifth, gift // Snakeskin Belt Bag: Nordstrom Rack, $18, BUY HERE