The days of texting my friends to “like my new post” may soon be a thing of the past.
Instagram is saying goodbye to likes in several countries and the blogging community is feeling the effects firsthand. Users can see who likes their photos, but no number pops up. They claim this is to help improve the mental health of the users and make Instagram more personable, but influencers aren’t in favor. This topic has caused quite an uproar in the influencer community and everyone has shown their distaste for this new feature.
Not only am I a blogger who uses Instagram daily to engage with my readers, but I also struggle with my mental health like many other teen girls.
What started as dealing with anxiety every day soon escalated to depression when I entered high school. As I continued through school, it became almost unbearable and I couldn’t manage day to day tasks. My anxious thoughts consumed me and left me confined in my bed. I was stuck in my own world unable to leave my bubble. It became a series of counselors, doctors and coping skills.
My blog is all about college lifestyle and mental health. I found an online community of bloggers and influencers. My blogging and struggles have helped guide me to a place where I feel I belong. It has healed me in so many different ways and has allowed me to open up and help others that may be struggling.
The people I’ve met (online) welcomed me with open arms and supported me in a way none of my friends have before.
They read every post, share, and connect with me about things that are mutually important. Some of them are so invested within this online community that they have made it their job. This subject is very close to my heart and complex.
When I saw the news at first I was excited! No more posting for the likes, I thought. Soon after, I realized that meant it will be more difficult to get ads and products coming my way. A business won’t see my engagement and will be more wary to reach out. While this isn’t a huge deal for me, it still shocked me. It’s a source of income for some of my friends and even their main source of income. If they lose the ability to improve engagement rates or communicate with possible sponsors over their influence, then they lose money. They lose the ability to work from home, raise their kids, take care of their parents, or improve their mental health. They do this work for a variety of reasons, all valid, and losing that could be extremely hard for them.
Instagram isn’t just for personal use now, for many, it is a career.
Companies advertise and can get attention more easily. So really, the questions being raised are how helpful this will be on users mental health and how many people will have to change their lifestyles and careers because of this. There could be other ways to get businesses attention, but there also can be other ways to help your mental health.
While I hope this trial shows us a better idea of what would happen if likes were to disappear, I also hope they come up with other ideas to improve the mental health of Instagram users. I think the goal shouldn’t be to get rid of something that people have built their income off of but instead change the community goals. Instagram should be used to be personal and inviting.
We need to get rid of the idea that we post for likes, that we have to show our best selves.
The culture surrounding Instagram is different depending on who you connect with. Within my online social group I can post anything and receive a crazy amount of support. In high school when I just connected with classmates it was different. They judged one another and you felt that you needed to show the world only the good side. This culture should be changed because that’s what is actually affecting the youth. The standards that our classmates and friends have for us is unrealistic and ends up destroying our mental health.
People far too often compare themselves to the images they see online. Taking away likes may not necessarily change this comparison mechanism.
People will always want to be a better version of themselves. Which in theory is good, but they must first experience and practice self-love to fully get rid of the negative thoughts. With any platform, there will be reasons to be jealous or think low of yourself due to how others present themselves. Remember, people only post what they want you to see, not everything that they are.
So ignore the likes, whether they’re there or not! You are amazing and should always remember to love yourself.