As the conversation surrounding social media’s influence on mental health continues to make its way to the forefront, one social media platform is exploring a new technique that has many influencers questioning the future of brand ambassador opportunities.
According to Fast Company, Instagram is experimenting with the idea of no longer showing exactly how many people have liked your post. Instead, it would only show the usernames of a few and “others.” This is in an effort to combat validation culture, which seems to be growing and believed to be the cause of mental health and self-esteem issues for many social media users. The below screenshot uncovered by researcher Jane Manchun Wong shows what Instagram may look like in the future.
“We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get,” Instagram says in an in-app message explaining the change. “During this test, only the person who shared a post will see the total number of likes it gets.”
Tech Crunch reported in a 2016 article that Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom revealed that one of the reasons Instagram Stories was created was to offer a different way to share with no likes, the option of no public comments, and a lot less pressure. It now seems that the platform is looking for innovative ways to also offer peace of mind on your timeline as well.
Although the feature is not being tested “at the moment,” it has social media influencers wondering about the future of their livelihood. As most of us know, influencers are chosen by brands based on their social media audience engagement and if these companies will no longer be able to see these features, how will they know who will be a great fit for a brand partnership?
I’m sure Instagram has kinks to work out if they are serious about implementing this new feature without current influencers taking a major hit, but I think overall it’s a great idea. Over the years, the craving that people have developed for a certain amount of likes, comments, and follows has taken the fun out of social media. It’s now a race to prove how awesome and perfect you want everyone to believe you are and people are driving themselves crazy seeking validation. It’s not “just Instagram” anymore.