Instagram has become known for being a place to dip out of reality and into a world of influencers, celebrities and public figures sharing snaps of their supposedly ‘perfect lives’.
Last year I graduated from university having spent my final year studying the impact of highly visual (image-based) social media on young female’s mental health and self-perception. Unsurprisingly the results were, on the whole, worrying as to how fixated we can be on the number of likes a post receives and posting them at the exact right time to maximise the number of likes gained. Now posting at optimum times is something we often urge businesses to do but that’s to help grow the account, not for self-gratification purposes. The majority of Instagram users are under the age of 30 with teens making up the largest demographic. Instagram has been proved to cause issues within these impressionable age groups by portraying unrealistic body shapes and lifestyles.
Goodbye Like Counters?
In the last few days it has been uncovered that Instagram is running tests in which it hides the number of likes on users’ posts. It seems the user is able to see the like counter by making an additional click, but the number is completely hidden from followers. Instagram have confirmed they are trailing ways to refocus users’ behaviours on the platform and reduce the focus on vanity. Developer Jane Wong leaked screenshots of the internal tests which also included a description of the change;
“We want your followers to focus on what you share; not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who shares a post will see the total number of likes it gets.”
This change follows words from Instagram co-founder Kevin Stystrom when back in 2016 he stated that the platform are always looking to eradicate the pressure of like counts. This was one of the main factors behind the implementation of Instagram stories as it was hoped that users would post sporadic, real content instead of carefully edited and planned unrealistic imagery.
What do you think of the change? Personally, we think it could be a step in the right direction to promote better mental health on the platform. While the gorgeous images will still be there it’ll be good to have the likes hidden-what’s the point in them anyway?
If you’d like to get a handle on your Instagram but have no idea where to start or just not enough time we can help! We love keeping up to date with latest developments to ensure we’re posting relevant, interesting content for our clients to help them grow their presence on social media!