It was a big week for social media when Facebook and Instagram both launched new innovations in the way we can "like" posts. After much demand for a dislike button, Facebook introduced new reaction buttons, allowing you to react to friends’ posts with something other than a simple like. Above the original “like” button you will now see a “love,” “haha,” “sad” and “angry” option and posts will show the multitude of emotions they receive. These new reaction buttons are perfect for posts that you felt the "like" button simply wouldn't suffice. Facebook established their set of new reactions based on the one-word comments people left most frequently on their friends’ posts.
Instagram made a significant revision in their app when they decided to reduce the number of likes a photo has to get before the names disappear and the number of likes takes their place. Previously, the Instagram app showed the names of people who had liked the post up to 11 likes, creating much anticipation while you wait for your post to finally reach 11 likes. The number 11 was believed to symbolize that a post had gained a satisfactory number of likes and many admitted to deleting a post that did not reach the desired 11 likes. Instagram is moving toward just showing a number the entire time a post is up.
These new transformations in the way we like posts made me take a step back and realize that the fact that these modifications are newsworthy exemplify our societies obsession with social media. We are allowing technology to take over our thoughts and our confidence level. How we feel about ourselves has become dependent on our social media and the more likes we receive on our pictures, the prettier we must be.
We are a generation that is too obsessed with our phones. For some, they have become a lifeline. We feel connected with one another because we are “friends” on Facebook when in reality all it took was a simple click of a button to build this “relationship.”
We post photos and how we feel about our physical appearance is reflected on the amount of likes we get. A couple of double taps on a screen should not make one feel any better or worse about themselves and Facebook is adding to this internal conflict with their new angry button. When in fact Instagram is trying to help by aiding with the anticipation and obsession over the much-desired eleventh like. But why do we care so much about how many likes we get or who likes our pictures?
We are uploading things online to better our image through the eyes of others when we should be posting pictures because we want to. Technology has turned into an unhealthy competition among many. We see each other’s daily statuses and feel the need to one-up each other all the time. It's time we upload pictures because we enjoy them and not debate what others will think.
Snapping a picture of your beautifully displayed dinner and adding the perfect filter may actually prevent you from enjoying it. We are wasting time trying to capture the amount of fun we are having for our news feeds instead of just living in the moment. So yes, that sunset from your dorm window may make for the perfect Instagram picture, but put down the phone and take a second to actually enjoy the moment.