© 2019 by Michelle Reed. 

  • Seashells

How I really feel about the removal of likes

Many of you may have heard that Instagram has trialed a concept in Australia where people who follow accounts won't be able to see how many likes they have on a post. The person who owns the account will be able to see the likes, and so will businesses who are looking to use influencers as advertisers. At first, when I heard this, I was a little shocked, so many things ran through my head like, is this a good thing? what happens to influencers? The whole point of getting likes was to show them off and feel a little proud that our photo did well. It's almost like having a trophy that you can't show to anybody.

I had already seen a few tweets about it, with mixed views. Unfortunately, social media had no longer become a platform where you can show off your best photos, but a platform where likes equaled popularity and reassurance. There was even a study to show that likes release a small amount of endorphins which is the happy hormone you release when eating chocolate or doing exercise. At the end of the day, your worth is not from how many 'likes' you receive but how you feel about yourself. As long as you are happy with yourself, no amount of likes will change how you feel. It may get you a little rush in the short term, but nothing will change how you feel long term except you.

I've always had an enormous amount of respect for social media, and how it has been able to connect people in the world, and see into the lives of someone a million miles away. It's also brought celebrities a little more closer and more intimate to their fans. I love how the platforms allow you to create some amazing photography and that others can inspire you with their creations too. However, social media, if not used correctly, can have the opposite effect. It can make you compare yourselves to people on social media and feel sad about your own life. You must remember that people on social media only show their best photos to the world. Very rarely will they show the bad sides of their life and personality. This gives the fake impression of someone having the perfect life. But it's not the case. Some of the influencers on social media have professional photographers to help them achieve the photos they desire. They also have photographers to help them take many photos to achieve the best one, and edit them so they look professional. If you are working a full time job, you can't expect to compare yourself to someone who has a professional photographer, and who takes photos for a living. I'm sure if you had the amount of time they did, you would create some amazing work too.

Everyone is on a different path in life, and at different paces, and that's OK. You don't know what people are going through behind closed doors, you only see things at face value. Someone equally may look at you and want a specific feature on your body, or want to be like you. People want what they can't have sometimes. I am firm believer than if an account you follow doesn't make you feel happy and content, then you must unfollow them for your own sanity and mental health. Your mental health is more important than anything else. Simply following only accounts that bring a smile to your face can have an impact on how you feel.

Back to the likes situation. When I first heard of it, I was a little shocked, and thought social media relies on likes to keep it a fun competition and to be proud of how many you have. But is it really a bad thing? Come to think of it, it's not. Social media may be a better place if we didn't compare our 'popularity' and 'likes' to other people. It may make us concentrate on the photo itself and not how popular the photo is. I am looking forward to seeing how the removal of likes will change social media and whether it will improve mental health.

What are your views on the removal of likes? Let me know in the comments.