What’s not to like? Instagram’s trial to hide the number of ‘likes’ could save users’ self-esteem



Not enough likes? Not a nice feeling.
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Joanne Orlando, Western Sydney University

Instagram is running a social media experiment in Australia and elsewhere to see what happens when it hides the number of likes on photos and other posts.

If you have an Instagram account, you’ll get to see the numbers but your followers won’t – at least, not automatically. They will be able to click and see who liked your post, but will have to count the list of names themselves.

The trial is taking place right now in six countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. Canada has just finished its trial.

It’s a bold move by Instagram, but arguably a necessary one. There is growing concern about the effect of social media on young people’s mental health and self–esteem.




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Instagram explained:

We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.

Likes, and their public tallying, have become the heart of Instagram and many other social media platforms. By hiding them, does Instagram risk devaluing a crucial currency?

Receiving loads of likes can feel like getting a gold star. It’s a public affirmation that you’re doing good work – a useful bit of quantitative feedback on your photographic skills or creativity. Under the new trial you’ll still get the gold star, but in private, and without broader recognition.

Nevertheless, the mental health repercussions of counting likes cannot be ignored. The design of social media promotes social comparison. You don’t have to spend long on Instagram to find a plethora of people who are evidently better-looking, more successful, and more glamorous than you.

As a result, young people can be left feeling inadequate and unworthy. Teens report that social media makes them feel closer to friends (78%), more informed (49%), and connected to family (42%). Yet many teens also report feeling pressure to always show the best versions of themselves (15%), overloaded with information (10%), overwhelmed (9%), or the dreaded “fear of missing out” (9%). These positive and negative reactions can see-saw, depending on a person’s particular mindset at the time.

Will comments become the new likes?

Without a public tally of likes, it is likely that comments will become an even stronger indicator of how people are interacting with a particular Instagram post.

Of course, comments can consist of anything from an emoji to an essay, and are therefore much more varied and adaptable than likes. Yet they can still affect users’ emotions and self-worth, particularly because (unlike likes), comments can be negative as well as positive.




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The reaction among Australian Instagram users has so far been mixed. Many are disgruntled about the change, feel manipulated by the platform, and argue that the change will reduce Instagram’s appeal, particularly among those who use it to support their business.

But others have applauded the move on mental health grounds, while others still have reported that they are already feeling the difference that the experiment is designed to deliver.

Nevertheless, people could potentially move away from Instagram if they don’t feel it benefits them in the way they want. This could conceivably leave the market open for new social media platforms that unabashedly count likes for all to see.

Finally, there is the question of whether this is nothing but a PR stunt by a global mega-brand.

It’s perhaps natural to be sceptical where the social media industry is concerned. But if this is a genuine move by Instagram to ameliorate the negative mental health effects of social media, then it’s a valuable experiment, and the results may be very beneficial for some. Let’s hope so.The Conversation

Joanne Orlando, Researcher: Children and Technology, Western Sydney University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Digg: Sadly Dug its Own Grave


Article: Social Apps Can Lead to Rape


The link below is to an article about a recent debate in which Newspepper.com founder Hermione Way claimed that social apps are responsible for some rapes that have occurred. A social app CEO responded with ‘more people have been harmed by the Catholic Church.’ Now that is difficult logic to argue against.

For more visit:
http://gigaom.com/2012/06/18/panelists-social-apps-can-lead-to-rape-catholic-church-worse-that-facebook/.

Starting out with Storify


  1. For this first story on Storify, all I’m going to really do is introduce the platform and embed some videos and tutorials that do just that. Hopefully some people will find this interesting and start to use the tool also.

  2. I am very much a novice to storify, so I have no idea really as to how this ‘story’ will appear when it is published. From what I understand it can be edited after it is published, so perhaps a bit of polishing will be required once it is complete.

    OK, I published the story and had a quick look at it. It actually doesn’t look too bad and it looks quite good actually.

    I thought I might add something of a product review in this story also. Storify is very easy to use and can be a very helpful tool for bloggers in particular I think. The learning curve for Storify is very quick and you’ll be quite proficient in its use very quickly. If you watch the ‘How To Use Storify’ video embedded in this particular story, that will will also enhance your ability quite quickly (though the appearance of the platform has changed a bit since the tutorial was put together). I’ll certainly be using Storify a fair bit from now on I would think.

    The other really good thing about Storify from my perspective is that I can very quickly publish my stories to my WordPress Blogs straight from the application. So that certainly is a fantastic plus in my opinion.

Social Media: Gaining Control


The following articles are the first two in a series concerning the very difficult task of controlling social media and the various social networks/web applications that you use. There are of course various strategies that can be used and usually some customised form that suits your own situation is generally the way to go. I find myself constantly adapting what I do to meet my current situation. Sometimes the strategy works for a while before breaking down, while at other times the strategy doesn’t appear to get me too far at all.

Perhaps what is outlined in the various articles below will be a help to you. Some of what is mentioned in the articles are strategies I already use and that sucessfully, but not owning a smartphone means I am limited to using various web applications and strategies, so they won’t all work for me.

For more, visit:
http://buckontech.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/2012-year-to-get-control-of-your-social.html
http://buckontech.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/5-must-have-tools-for-managing-social.html