Do Likes Still Matter?
Life as a Millennial seems to be one existential crisis after another.
After we spent so many years battling to find our professional footing in a Recession-tinged economy, Gen Z seems to be better at navigating the new workplace.
For anyone interested in buying a home, 2021 represented the 2nd housing crisis we’ve faced in our careers.
And even though we grew up on likes and upvotes on social media, services like Instagram are now making it possible for us to hide those likes.
Even with professional uncertainties, even with housing doubts, we always had likes.
And now, we’re being told likes are… optional?
It’s enough to wonder what The Point even is anymore.
Though we can’t deny the reasons for hiding the likes come from a good place like “[depressurizing] people’s experience on Instagram”, it’s worth wondering what the point is.
If we’re not trying to get to 100 likes on Instagram, what are we even doing?
What Are Likes Good For Nowadays?
I’ll admit that I did turn off my like count. But I’m hardly an influencer, with my dozens and dozens of followers. So I turned to the internet to see if likes do, in fact, still matter.
The Algorithm Is Still Alive And Well - Just because the number of likes might not be displayed, the act of liking still tells the Instagram algorithm something about you. Or if you’re a brand or an influencer, likes still help to increase your visibility. According to Hootsuite, this means likes still matter as much as they ever did.
Likes Aren’t Even, Like, Engagement - If you’ve taken a spin around the internet over the last few years, you’ve likely heard about engagement. It’s how many people actively engage with what you post online - do they like it, comment, share, or even actually view it? When it’s possible that only 1% of people who’ve liked a Facebook page actually view that page shares, maybe likes don’t matter.
- How Do We Even Define A Like? - When you take a step back from the pure numbers and the rankings and think about what a like actually means, you may find yourself liberated. For example, think about the reasons someone might like an Instagram post: the quality of the photo, the fact that the photo has your face in it, the caption, or the mere fact that you posted. And if the photo didn’t have your face, and didn’t show up in a friend’s feed, does that mean they don’t actually like it? Or just that they didn’t Like it?
In the end, it’s unclear if we solved any existential crisis. From one millennial’s point of view, though, moving away from likes lets us think about what likes even mean for us on a personal level. It’s clear they have a use from a business point of view.
But for the rest of us, it seems like putting less emphasis on individual analytics and more on how much we’re actually enjoying the social media experience could make even more of a difference.
What about you? Do you still keep the like count on your Instagram?