Anarchy has struck the social media world with Instagram deciding to hide the total number of likes from public view in six more countries including Australia and New Zealand. This follows on from an initial trial in Canada. Removing the viability of ‘likes’ on the posts is an attempt to remove pressure on users and bring the focus back to the content rather than the number of likes someone’s post is getting.
Many people are getting up in arms over this change and I was having a conversation with a friend about it. Halfway through the conversation I realised, ‘oh my god, this is such a first world problem, but is it the way forward to remove the requirement of validation from others based on what we believe to be valuable content?’
Instagram users will still be able to see the number of likes and views their own posts have received so can determine what content is working well. Now, I personally don’t hate the idea of hiding likes because I think, letting people focus on the actual photo or video rather than the popularity behind it, is a good thing. It started me thinking about what would happen if other social media platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn followed suit and also hid their likes.
Studies suggest that instant feedback on content can boost people's self-esteem, but it can also bring others down if they don’t get as many likes. Studies have also linked social media platforms with mental health issues, especially in young people, so I’m all for this move by Instagram but would it be a good idea for a professional platform like LinkedIn, that isn’t considered an everyday social media site, but rather a business social media site, to do the same?
Food for thought.