In light of Instagrams initiative to take the pressure of likes, numbers and, in the wider sense, popularity out of its app, I want to talk about social media, and our addiction to likes.
Personally, I think that it’s a great idea to remove the ability to see counted likes on Instagram, and I am definitely interested to see how this trial period goes. I think that in modern society our personal sense of worth has been heavily impacted by the constant presence of social media.
Daily, we are open to the critiques of both people we know and love, and people we have never even met on the internet. We are always able to be either criticised or validated by anyone, anywhere. A moment of criticism can reach you through your phone, and therefore into any part of your day in an instant. You may be going through a breakup, you could of just had a bad meeting at work, or woken up from a nightmare, or you could be having a perfectly lovely day, and within an instant, you can feel invalidated by the amount of interaction you have or have not received online. What a toxic system we have become a part of?!
I believe that taking the pressure away of how many likes a photo gets on Instagram is a unique opportunity to create a healthier relationship with social media. It could also encourage sharing content that YOU really love, rather than anything that people may post in order to try and please others or to ‘get all of the likes’.
I don’t know about you, but I can definitely see how likes on Instagram has been having a subtle but very real impact upon myself. It has become such a normal phenomenon to get that kick of dopamine when you post a well liked photo on the gram, but how can that be healthy? Long story short- it isn’t.
Focussing on making Instagram a place that values self expression over popularity evens out the playing field, and I think that it will make it more likely for people to be creative and brave in their posts. Learning to post based on how good it makes us feel within ourselves without the need for validation from others could be a real game changer.
Let’s see how this trial goes, and hopefully other social media giants decide to follow suit and encourage spaces where mental health impacts are recognised, and steps are taken to create more positive, inclusive places for all.