Instagram has just taken the seismic step to hide the ‘likes’ count feature in a move to stop users feeling the pressure of social media. The move, introduced in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Brazil is a test to try and improve the mental health of Instagrammers who become obsessed with their popularity to the point of damage. Social media has an unfortunate well documented reputation for contributing to poor mental well being by users who check out from the real world to live online. But wait! Isn’t the online world the real world now?
TIMES HAVE CHANGED
No-one can deny that we are all so connected that for many there really is no other way of living. With Social Media Influencer now being a career option for youngsters, there has been a backlash from some that by taking away their means of generating income then this also seriously impacts their mental health – and wealth. Some influencers have reacted with fury to these changes as they ‘leak followers’ by up to 200 per day. It’s certainly a testing time for many a reality TV star clinging onto the last vestiges of fame with yet another swimsuit shot.
The psychology of likes may be a new phenomenon but some commentators liken it to serious addictions such as gambling by never satisfying the need to always try and do more. Social media addiction is well documented and many are applauding Instagram for publicly addressing an issue that can have serious repercussions when the lines between reality and online get blurred.
BACK TO REALITY?
It’s hoped that this removal will encourage more real stories and journeys to be documented with attention paid to comments for validation. Instagram states that now more attention can be paid to the images and videos that are shared and more interesting content will now be updated.
Whether the experiment will reach the UK hasn’t been disclosed but it could be a wake up call to those who rely only on their looks to make their way in life.
We admit that we do love a ‘like’ on our own instagram feed. Maybe it’s because we try and tell our tales to create thought, comment and engagement. We think we mix the day to day, with what we’ve found interesting and creative and if we like it, we hope you do too.