From a business perspective, one of the most simple forms of measurable social media engagement is the ’like’.
Now, Instagram is testing the waters in a number of countries, via a select test group, and rolling out an update which will hide the number of likes a user has received on a post.
Well, there’s no denying that social media, largely visual platforms such as Instagram, have gathered their fair share of criticism when it comes to the personal use of social media and its impact on mental health. It’s likely that this is one of the reasons for this potential stir up on the platform.
Social media platforms, in general, have an increasing amount of pressure on them to ensure that their platforms are not impacting negatively on their users. Introducing features, like the ability to set a notification for when you have spent your personal, prefered maximum amount of time on Instagram per day, are there to help users to manage their time online.
Their announcement on Twitter stated that
“We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get. You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who’ve liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.”
Youtube have already taken their own similar step, only months ago, to aid users to disconnect from the vitalness of followers and likes, they took the step to round the number of subscribers, rather than having a live, counting total, visible to obsess over and compare to.
What does this mean for the marketing aspect of social media and the businesses who use it as a platform to connect with consumers?
Well, the like count will still be there for the user to view, so businesses and individuals will know how many likes they have received and you’ll still be able to monitor growth.
The acknowledgement that changes do need to be made to the way social media impacts our lives is a positive step but will there be an outcry for the return of the likes, or is this going to make social media a less judgemental, all-consuming place to spend our time and will users and businesses enjoy the change?