Instagram's Tuesday bug made likes vanish for many users, including myself. For years, Instagram has vocalized their intention to fade likes out in an effort to combat the societal pressures and negative health impacts social media has on our generation.
I know many people were shocked, some angry, when their likes disappeared. It's the same thing that happens every time apps change their interface; people hate change. But, for me, I was so incredibly relieved. I wish they didn't reappear Wednesday.
I say I don't place value in likes on Instagram. I reassure myself that I don't limit my posts on what's deemed trendy, or equate my personal worth to social media presence. However, there are always subconscious effects from social media. Whether we like to admit it or not, our generation lives through branding ourselves via Instagram.
The idea of using Instagram in a way that closely resembles social media's original intent, to post content that makes you happy and follow content that makes you happy, is so foreign that it's absolutely no shock in how much a simple number of likes disappearing alters the way we view the platform all together. It changes everything. It raises questions around sponsored content, influencers, popularity, and censorship. It goes completely against what nearly every social media is centered around.
The point is, if you find yourself upset at not being able to compare your likes on Instagram to your friends, or are at the very least hesitant about losing Instagram likes or followers, that's normal. It's expected after we have been conditioned to place value in our online presence. But that doesn't make it good.
I truly believe every person using Instagram will, in the long run, benefit from Instagram getting rid of likes or follower counts. Even though the bug was fixed, I'm taking this fluke accident as a warning to not refresh my feed everytime I post. I'm taking a break from counting likes and followers and I think you should too.