How the like changed the world and why it is necessary to cancel this button
News - Jan 10, 2020
Ten or 15 years ago, it was virtually impossible to imagine that a common “button” such as ‘like’ would change the world. The SoMe existence is reduced to a number of likes, shares, followers. Today, success and satisfaction are largely measured by a number of likes on SoMe platforms. And this does not apply to influencers only – ordinary people are increasingly attempting to collect as many followers as possible in order to become influencers, establish themselves as brands. One cannot but wonder why.
Regardless of how wrong this is, no one is even trying to change it. When it was announced that Instagram would cancel likes, namely that the number of likes would not be visible to anyone but the owner of a specific profile/post, everyone was shocked. Why, when it is common fact that so much in this modern world is measured by a number of likes, that influencers dictate trends and that many people respect that without giving it much thought?
According to marketingtechnews.net, the like has turned people into brands, established the influence culture and completely changed global marketing.
Everything has been revolving around likes for a long time – people are ready to die for selfies (getting hit by trains, falling off cliffs…), and accidents never cease to happen, as if there had had not been enough warnings or likes, and they still try to take a step further and create content that will collect a few more likes, even if such venture includes a death-threatening danger.
Furthermore, people spend so much time on social media platforms that psychologists around the world are warning that it will be reflected on collective mental health.
However, the situation is not that bleak, as confirmed by the fact that SoMe platforms can be very useful: thanks to them, the e-commerce sector has been functioning much better and the advertising sector has been recording high profit.
However, it is wrong to measure someone’s value by a number of likes. People take their SoMe profiles too seriously and react too personally if someone doesn’t like their posts or doesn’t start following them back.
For months, Instagram has been testing the hidden likes function in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Brazil and Japan. The company is now expanding the test to specific parts of the USA. A plan is to cancel the number of likes in the whole world by end-2022. As a result, many influencers and users of these platforms with many followers are panicking – they are concerned that they will no longer be able to earn from their profiles on SoMe platforms.
By depriving users of the most obvious way of quantifying their value, the platforms such as Instagram have justified this as a move that people will benefit from instead of generating profit.
In the UK, up to 48% of teenagers have reported spending too much time on SoMe, with one in five of teenagers deleting an account at some point, after realising that they spend too much time on a phone or a computer.
While individuals do everything they can to be as ”influential” as possible, no one pays attention to a large number of fake accounts and the related issue – what is real influence actually and how is it measured? How many “real” followers and likes are there?
How to measure quality?
Instagram Stories were introduced after exceptionally successful testing – they are now used by more than 500 million active users on a daily basis, despite the fact that they have never offered the “like” option. It is only possible to react to them directly in their user’s inbox, but it still doesn’t increase the “value” of someone’s profile. Despite lack of likes, they are currently the most popular content on SoMe platforms.
All the profiles featuring posts, including ordinary people, brands or influencers, will have to think of new ways of demonstrating their dominance in the future. It means coming up with inventive ways of proving influence without mere numbers. The future lies in high-quality original content.
A new era is on the horizon – it’s up to us to deal with it adequately.