To like or not to like

Audrey Taylor, Staffer

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When Instagram removed the likes on posts, I barely noticed, but some people found many faults. Some complaints were that people like to see what other people are liking, or that they can judge how good a profile is by how many likes they have. I think there will always be some issues when a major app makes a change like this, but I think this was a smart move on Instagram’s part. 

Instagram typically upgrades its software to benefit the company financially. Earlier this year, they changed the way people view posts to no longer be in chronological order but instead random. This change also upset the users, but it was a financial move for the app since they make profit from how long a person uses the app. Most of their advances are to get more people to use the app, however, this update might be for the general good. 

Unlike most social media apps, Instagram doesn’t have a dislike feature, or any other options beside liking a post. This means that posts only show how many people like the picture and no other options unless they are expressed in the comments. While this helps prevent hate from spreading, it also helps to promote the perfect image of people that Instagram is known for. Another factor that make likes deceptive are apps that create artificial likes on a post using bots. They can inflate the number of likes on the accounts of celebrities, businesses or even the average person.   

While most people try to say that likes or followers don’t define them, they still pay attention to them. I have found myself spending time thinking about the amount of likes or followers I have when I thought I didn’t care. I liked to think that likes didn’t matter to me and that it’s the quality of the content and not the response that counts, but despite my best efforts, I still found myself thinking of those pesky likes.  

The worst part was that I wasn’t obsessing over the number like teenage movies depict, but instead it was a general background thought. It felt normal to want more because that’s how most people feel. No matter how many likes or followers a person has, there will always be someone that has more, except for the world record egg. 

I think that Instagram changing the software is a step in the right direction. I have found that while scrolling through the app, I don’t miss the likes count. I don’t even look for it anymore. Instead, I see the picture, and then I move on. 

This change is in no way going to change how people use social media. It’s still going to only show people as perfect and still promote obsession over likes and followers. However, maybe with this change, people can start to focus on what they enjoy about the app. 

Izzy Antilla
Displaying a test to see if users like an upcoming feature, the app Instagram uses alerts and testing to see whether their new feature is liked among users. After testing the removal of the number of likes was instated in early Dec. 2019. Photo courtesy of victoriabuzz.com.