You’re coming back from a vacation to Mexico, have seen many of your friends’ vacation posts on Instagram, and are ready to post your own. Wow, you think. Katie got 553 likes on her post. You look at your last post, only two months ago. Only 234 likes. What if they notice?
Recently, I have heard and discussed with my peers the idea of hiding “likes” on Instagram. Instagram itself is currently running a test in Canada, Italy, Japan, and four more countries that hides the amount of likes that a certain post gets. If this system was put into full effect everywhere, almost all of the negative stigma of likes could be prevented.
This type of like system would be appealing to older and less conscientious users who only use the platform to share their experiences with their friends and couldn’t care less about how many likes these posts get. These kinds of users post very frequently.
However, there is always a question of basic human nature. Humans enjoy comparing themselves to one another, and if the current like system was changed, this would be substantially harder. These kinds of comparisons occur mostly within a sizable percentage of Instagram users, “popular” junior high and high school students (almost 350 million users from the ages of 13-25). It’s even possible that these people would switch systems to a social media platform that would allow them to compare themselves to one another much easier. This would be a huge revenue cut for Instagram, and it could risk losing its status as a top social media platform.
The question Instagram must ask itself is if removing the negative stigma of likes is worth the risk of losing the users that use Instagram as a platform to compare themselves to one another, then steadily losing revenue and eventually going bankrupt. For a purely money-based standpoint, Instagram would make more money with the current like system. However, if Instagram wants to appeal to users who don’t care about likes or were worried about not getting enough likes, Instagram should use the new like system.
Most people are attempting to change our society to be more accepting and less judgmental. If Instagram were to use the new like system, it would make people more conscientious about diversity and help to celebrate diversity rather than outlawing it. Additionally, Instagram would change a whole new generation of users to be more accepting of their peers. This is why, on a purely human standpoint, Instagram should hide likes on every post and attempt to present a completely different outlook on society for a completely new generation.