Isn’t it always the way? When something so much fun comes along with so many social benefits, here comes the downside. The rise of social media use has also caused an escalation of negative psychological symptoms, especially among the youngest users. While likes and all the associated positive comments can certainly make us feel supported and appreciated, just the opposite can occur when our content doesn’t make the anticipated impact on friends and followers. Few likes or even negative comments can really ruin your day. So… Instagram to the rescue!
The platform thinks it has a way to help control negativity by hiding the number of likes per post, and by monitoring comments typed, if Instagram notices a user is about to drop a negative line the platform can nudge users with a warning before they leave a nasty comment; however, this little nudge will not stop them from leaving the comment. While these changes would initially run on a trial basis, first to roll out in Canada, this has the potential to change the entire social dynamic if universally adopted and appreciated by users.
According to PR Daily, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri told Buzzfeed this trial is about “creating a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.”
If this becomes the new normal, it might greatly improve the user experience from a mental health perspective, especially among the most vulnerable youngest users who most likely don’t realize how Instagram’s filtered, follower-driven concept affects their emotions. When we look at a steady stream of meticulously altered photos with thousands of likes, it can make anyone feel insecure about themselves and their less-than-perfect lives.
With Instagram firmly in the lead as the platform with the highest projected growth, this new development could mean a huge change for social media marketing revenue, too. If likes are hidden from view, post engagement rates could plummet, as users naturally gravitate towards posts that have a higher number of likes. And when the number of likes is hidden, tracking engagement metrics will be tougher for the millions of businesses that rely on Instagram to make sales. So, while the intention is good, it might be too costly to implement permanently.
The idea was generated by the low-pressure use of Instagram’s partially hidden stories, so hiding likes on the feed will probably drive more eyeballs to the stories feature. But no one will be able to measure that!
We “like” the platform’s motivation but wonder if it can succeed.