Take the perfect picture. Edit to perfection. Post and wait … How many likes will it get? For many of today’s younger generation, social media has become an everyday aspect of their lives. Many spend hours on social media a day, including on Instagram, a social media platform that was created in 2010.
While Instagram certainly has its perks, such as allowing people throughout the world to connect, it also can lead to stress when one posts a picture. Those who use Instagram may judge their picture on not how much they personally like it, but instead on how many likes that it receives. They may worry what others will think if they don’t get enough likes. Users sometimes even choose to delete a picture if it doesn’t receive enough likes.
“Yeah, I have deleted a picture that didn’t get enough likes. I think it was a picture that was … a view or something, and I was like, I guess this’s not my branding because it didn’t get as many likes,” junior Usra Alraki said.
As what many believe to be an attempt to reduce the comparison of how many likes others receive on their photos compared to oneself, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced that the company will be getting rid of likes on others' pictures. That is, likes on one’s own picture will still be visible, but likes on those they follow will not.
Many Salisbury students recognized the competition that Instagram users may feel when looking at the amount of likes another person received. Because of this, students felt that getting rid of likes on others' pictures may help to reduce such comparison.
“I think there are a lot of people who are very conscious of how many likes their friends are getting compared to their own, so if you take that away, they won’t be so self-conscious about that,” senior Michael Webber said.
Freshman Paige Sine agrees with Webber that Instagram likes can cause comparison that lowers one’s self-esteem.
“I think our generation is so focused on the amount of likes they get, and it kind of has to do with how they approve of themselves of not. I just think it is a good idea because it [Instagram] is really competitive,” Sine said.
Students such as Alraki also feel that without visible likes on other people’s pictures, there won’t be a standard to compare one’s amount of likes to.
Even more, some Salisbury students feel that “likes” take away from the Instagram experience and prevent users from actually focusing on looking at others’ posts and pictures.
“It is kind of like a check off of our to-do list for the day to just go through your feed and like everything, more so than actually going on Instagram to see what people are doing … and I think that’s kind of taking the fun away from it,” Sine said.
Still, other students believe that likes aren’t the only aspect of Instagram that can lead to low self-esteem. For example, FOMO, also known as fear of missing out, is quite common when one sees others doing something fun that they aren’t involved in.
“It would probably help … but then again, you would still see people having a good time. I’m not sure what matters more to people … I’m not sure if it’s more important seeing the likes or seeing other people having a good time anyways,” junior Carmen Schwartz said.
Besides possibly helping to reduce comparison and competition on Instagram in terms of likes, students are unsure whether or not making likes invisible will affect large influencers and those who possibly profit off of the number of likes they receive.
“I know people make money off of likes, and I guess if likes aren’t as popular, then they wouldn’t make as much money. I’m not sure though,” Schwartz said.
Instagram’s announcement of taking away visible likes on others' photos appears to be a step in the correct direction in helping to reduce social media comparison and the low self-esteem that can accompany it. Still, being able to still see the number of likes one’s own photo receives may hinder the effectiveness of removing likes. Only time will tell how Instagram’s new implementation will affect the usage of the very popular social media app.
By LAURA AMRHEIN
Featured photo from CNN Business.