I’m starting to dislike the ‘like’ button

Photo by photo by Greta McLaughlin

Grace Friedberg

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I have to admit it. I am guilty of worrying about the number of likes I receive on my posts. Every time I post a picture, I strive for a certain like count and tend to get disappointed if the post doesn’t hit my goal. Recently hearing that Instagram is considering taking away the like button, I have realized that this obsession with my likes needs to end.

According to Forbes, at the recent Facebook F8 Developers Conference, Instagram announced that on all posts the like count would be hidden, allowing only the person who posted the image to see the total number of likes it receives. With this new feature, Instagram is encouraging users to be more focused on the content they are sharing rather than how many likes the post gets.

Right now, many Instagram users are likely to delete posted photos that don’t get “enough” likes. Teens nowadays associate likes with popularity. The more likes they receive on a post, the more popular they feel. When a photo receives a low like count, they feel embarrassed and believe it could ruin their reputation, so they decide to remove the picture from their profile. This shouldn’t occur, as the quality of the photo is far more important than the number of likes it receives.

Also, those who don’t reach the number of likes they want can ultimately see a decrease in their self-confidence. Instagram should be an outlet for individuals to express themselves and not have to constantly worry about how many likes they are getting.

Teenagers allow Instagram to control the way they feel, which, in turn, impacts their mental health. Anxiety and stress build when users don’t get the desired likes. “If I don’t get a lot of likes, I start to worry what’s wrong with the picture I posted,” said WHS junior Catharine Miller. “It’s sad we base our confidence on something so artificial, but I can’t help feeling happy when I get a lot of likes.”

With this stress, users start to compare themselves to others on Instagram. If one user sees another getting more likes, they begin to grow self-conscious and worry about concerns that should not cross their mind. These concerns mirror major issues in society today, such as a negative body image.

On the contrary, a side of me will always want the like feature to stay on Instragram. Without this option, too many people, including me, feel there is no point to the app. For years, Instagram has had this feature, and if they decide to officially delete it, it may result in a significant decline in users.

However, Instagram is more than a game of “winning” the most likes. It’s about connecting and sharing your life with the people around you. Although it may take time to adjust to the removal of the like feature, overall, it will benefit the world of Instagram and society itself.