At the moment Instagram is testing what happens when they stop hiding likes on the platform. It is an interesting test that is started from a good standpoint: trying to take the pressure out of the social app. Making it less about popularity and more about connection. While that is good, there are definitely many people against hiding likes. These are the pros and cons of hiding likes on Instagram.
The likes experiment is still an experiment, meaning it is currently just being tested around the world. It could be that when you open the app, you do not get to see any likes -except for the ones you have received on a post you made-. But there is also a big chance you will not see anything different because your account is not part of the test. My account isn’t, unfortunately, cause I am all for hiding likes.
The reason why I am for it, is because I notice people around me and myself checking my own posts often to check how many likes it has received. The problem is though, that I start to see the likes on the post as the likes on me as a person, which obviously hasn’t got much to do with it. Plus, I would also spot other people’s posts that are way less creative and think: how come they get so many likes?
May be I am in a negative spiral, I do that sometimes, but I hear more people around me that feel that way. It is a very human thing to always compare ourselves to others, why keep doing that when we are on social media, something we use for self expression, connecting with people and most importantly: entertainment. I am okay with seeing how many likes my own stuff gets, cause that way you can connect to people that might have liked your post and that you haven’t spoken to in a while. But what does it matter to me if my friend has more or less likes on the same pictures?
To that extent, it is also good to not have likes out in the open to take the pressure out of having to post something. Sometimes you don’t feel like it, and you still might feel like needing to post. I hope taking out the likes of Instagram will indeed take out the pressure. That is also something that Instagram is aiming for. Especially young people are very vulnerable when it comes to pressure and competition, and Instagram is so much more about popularity and owning things these days, instead of creativity and inspiration.
I am all for Instagram’s plans, but there are cons as well. Cons that you might not think about if you are not an influencer making money off the platform. The visibility of the traffic on their Instagram is one of the big ways of proving yourself as an influencer. A company might want to hire you if you have 30.000+ likes per post, not if you are below it. It is not harder to show companies how popular you are, meaning it is more difficult to get jobs.
Influencers think Instagram isn’t just hiding likes because of protecting young people. Instagram might do it to take away power from the influencers, and make it more logic to companies to use advertisements on the social platform. That means the influencer does not make money, but Instagram does. That makes it sound pretty evil right? I am not sure if that really is the case, but I think a company would rather want an influencer to be enthusiastic about their products then to just put up an advertisement, right?
Time will tell if this test will be a standard for Instagram, time will tell if we would psychologically benefit from it and time will tell if companies indeed reach out to influencers less and make use of Instagram advertisements more. In the meantime, I will wait for the day my account is finally part of the test too.