I think we can all agree that social media is so addicting, I mean that's been proven over and over, but what makes it so addicting? Is it the appeal of constant attention from your friends and/or strangers? Is it that we are so obsessed with the way our lives look in comparison to others? Is it the need to constantly gain more likes and more followers than the next? The answer to all of those would be a big fat, yes. Those all play a huge part in the addictive properties of Instagram.
I will admit that even I struggle with caring way too much about my Instagram image from time to time, it's just way too easy to get sucked in.
Another notable point, social media is not good for your mental health if it isn't used "correctly" (although, I believe the correct usage is subjective). Looking at Kendall Jenner's unrealistically perfect body on your feed every day and seeing her insanely lavish life is very clearly damaging to your confidence and how you feel about your own life overall. You look at all the likes she gets when posting herself almost fully naked and can't help but subconsciously make the connection that she's getting so many likes because she's perfect — honestly, that's gross.
First off, I would like to say that each one of us is made uniquely for a reason. You are literally the only you there will ever be, so to spend your time wishing you could be somebody else is so sad and not worth the time. Embrace who you are. We're all beautiful.
So, the question is, how much of the responsibility falls onto the creators and coordinators of the app? When do they take accountability for creating such a toxic environment? I'm sure these weren't their intentions starting out, but as things evolve you can't just throw your hands up and say, "Well, I didn't mean to!" You have to evolve with it.
Very recently, Instagram put out an update that removes the number of likes from our feed. The only ones you can see are your own and let me just tell you, I am SO here for it.
Removing celebrities and influencers would probably be a greatly useful change, but an unrealistic one. For some, Instagram is their livelihood and that shouldn't be taken away from them. However, removing likes from being seen by anybody but the owner of the account is a change that is beneficial to the observer and doesn't really affect the owner of the account. I have always liked the app VSCO for this exact reason. You can't see the number of followers someone has or the number of favs/reposts they receive on each post, but you can still create captions and share your pictures. You just aren't able to comment, which I could do without, but it's nice to be able to engage with the people who care about your content, so it would be reasonable to keep it.
So, all this being said, what changes are still left to be made? I believe that Instagram should shift a little more towards the VSCO atmosphere, but just with comments still available. Seeing how many likes or followers everyone has is unnecessary and damaging. The only person who needs to know those things is the owner of the account. Will it change the content people are posting? No. That is something Instagram can't completely control outside of what is clearly inappropriate. However, this is a start to a healthier environment on one of the most, if not the most, popular social media platforms there is.