Saturday, November 16, 2019

And what if Instagram was right about hiding likes?

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
It seems the new instagram update did not reach me yet but it reached a teenager I know - meaning he is now incapable of seeing the number of "Likes" on people's posts. OK I am going to post the exchange with him as it occurred:
"aal insta meche le update ma ba2a had ychouff ade sar aande likes. wouww!"
(The new update is working on insta(gram) no one can see how many like I got. wouww!)
Notice what happened? Whereas Instagram did the update to stop people looking at the photos others are looking at, a side effect has materialized: People such as that teenager now no longer see it as a "competition" to get more like since anyhow, no one is going to see the said likes! Suddenly, all the pressure is off. What is the point competing when no one is "timing your lap!" - yes, yes, I realize my sample is composed of one person, but somehow I feel joy for this to be a side-result of that new Instagram policy.
He would often ask why a silly picture got so many likes, and I would explain "this was posted by a girl. Photos posted by girls get more likes" or "why does this boy got two thousand followers when he only posted three times" and I would explain that most likely he bought those followers. As Instagram changed its algorithms so that photos would be less exposed he felt he was not "popular" enough lately (naturally teenagers seek validation that way!).
"Only you can see the total number of people who liked your post" (this is what the screenshot the boy took said). Somehow by abolishing that "number of people", it seems Instagram re-instated the joys of posting photos for many people.
With much much less pressure of comparing and competing!