The first time I noticed “like” counts was when there was a shift in how it was displayed after you hit a certain threshold. It was years ago, but users remember this. In recent years, the pressures of even having an Instagram account have spiraled. As much as I love Instagram, I’m grateful the platform never existed when I was growing up. As a late 20’s person, I, too feel the pressures of FOMO and validation. I know that at 14, that feeling would have been 10x what it is today.
In a recent test, Instagram is removing the “like” count on photos publicly. As a user, you will still see the number of likes you have on a given photo, but no one else will. While I think this is an interesting move in a good direction, there’s still a long way to go. Validation also comes in the form of how many followers you have and engagement. How many comments do you receive per photo? These two things are not being adjusted at this point.
I think we can agree that this is a positive step towards a healthier wellbeing and mental state when dealing with Instagram. One criticism that I foresee is how this affects influencers and those that rely on likes as a metric for business. Without this, businesses and brands have to do more research on the types of individuals they partner with. It might mean taking a chance on how this reach affects them. If that’s the only downside, then I think I’m okay with it. It is something to consider especially for those that have quit their day jobs to pursue this as a full-time gig though.
Since this is still in exploratory stages, it’s too soon to tell what the impact will be. If this product change helps people feeling better about themselves, then I think it’s worth whatever risk there is to take. I’m looking forward to seeing how this change progresses, but curious to hear your thoughts! Is this move by Instagram a positive or a negative one for you? Do you care what happens to influencers? Should any of us consider how this affects influencers at all?