Question: There’s nothing wrong with a bit of healthy competition, right?
Answer: Wrong! (According to Instagram.)
Instagram recently announced that they are removing “likes” on posts, so that followers can focus on what they are sharing, rather than how many likes a post attracts.
The platform is hoping this change will reduce feelings of competition and low self-esteem in its users.
What does this mean for the future of Instagram? Is this the demise of social media influencers and the #ad, and will the lack of “likes” affect how users feel about their popularity?
Sharing is caring?
An online survey by RSPH and the Young Health Movement found that “91% of 16-24 year olds use the internet for social media”, and that “social media use is linked with increased rates of anxiety, depression and poor sleep.”*
In the same report, Instagram was voted the “most negative” social platform.
It is no surprise, therefore, the social channel is making a conscious effort to make more positive changes, starting with the removal of likes on posts.
"We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get," a spokesperson for Instagram has stated. “During this test, only the person who shares a post will see the total number of likes it gets.”
The fight against bullying
The test, which is currently only being rolled out to selected users in Canada, has had positive feedback, with users claiming they have “less built-up anxiety before posting” and have “stopped comparing myself to bigger accounts.” **
This reaction is likely to be welcomed by Instagram.
At the recent Facebook F8 conference, the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, announced that he not only wants Instagram to be a more positive platform, but also the social channel to lead the battle against internet bullying.
The movement will start with Instagram rolling out new user experiences, such as limitation settings on how certain users interact with others, a ‘nudge’ feature that warns users before commenting something hurtful, and an ‘away mode’ to halt notifications, whilst still having the ability to use the app.
"Social media specifically is a great amplifier of the good and bad and so we need to try and do more and identify the bad," says Moressi. “We generally want Instagram to be less of a pressurised environment, we don't want people to compete.”***
Likes for lifestyle influencers
What would this mean for social media ‘influencers’, who can up to £10,000 per post to promote brand products on their grid?
“It will certainly create some near-term inefficiencies in how some of these deals get done” says Kamiiu Lee, CEO of influencer platform, Active. “In the long-term, the industry will figure it out. It will just shift attention to some of these other things.” ****
These “other things” could likely be the ever-popular Instagram stories - mini videos and images lasting 24 hours, where links can be added to promote a brand’s product.
Despite these changes, it seems inevitable that content creators and brands will find a way to collaborate.
So far, so good - the reaction to these changes has been resoundingly positive.
It remains to be seen, however, how these changes will be received worldwide, and whether they will really have an effect.
Although feelings of low self-esteem and anxiety may still affect Instagrammers, we are impressed with Instagram for taking the lead in making positive changes on their application.
We can only hope that the future of social media will be a more positive experience for users, and that other platforms will follow Instagram's example, and strive to make their platform a positive place for users.
6B Digital provides bespoke social media retainers to many customers across the UK. If you are interested in finding out more about 6B Digital’s social media marketing and digital marketing services, contact us today to see how we can help improve your business.
* #StausOfMind report