When sitting down to pen a eulogy there is one very important decision to be made: what is the tone of this speech you are writing for the deceased? Is it mournful? Were they lost too soon and we hardly knew ye? Is it rageful? Did you only show up to spit on a tarnished memory? Is it happy? A celebration of a life lived beautifully? Sitting down to eulogize Instagram Like counts, we realize it is going to be something more akin to the sloppy and emotional purging of all the wrongdoing we experienced at the hands of this Instagram feature. We do this in the hopes of exorcising bad social media behaviour to make way for a more authentic future. *Takes a swig of liquid courage* Here we go.
Instagram Like counts was born in San Francisco, California, on October 6th, 2010. Maybe you came into the world too quickly, or maybe you were exactly what we all needed. Regardless, you’ve wreaked a lot of havoc ever since. It was always a popularity contest for you and some of us were just trying to leave high school behind. As if you even cared. You made it all about the likes! It didn’t matter if we were being creative or unique or even if we simply liked what we had posted or seen – it all came down to that little number, and if it hadn’t yet reached 11? Well, you better believe we deleted and hid from the world what we had once wanted to share.
To be honest, you didn’t offer us any true benefits. Claiming to be a valuable metric when assessing a creator’s worth, when really it was all vanity. But we were the fools to fall prey to the status symbol that growing number of hearts provided. We chose to use it as a measure of validity in an online world where we incorrectly tied the volume of thumbs-ups we got to not only our self worth, but the true value others offered. How confused we all were, yet you continued to lead us down this path of false meaning. With each empty, virtual pat on the back we perked up, only to then compare our own Likes to another’s, resulting in the all too familiar crash in mood that comes from this type of damaging social comparison. You blinded and deterred us from truth and vision in favour of something that was hollow and fleeting.
We won’t miss you, Like counter. No longer having to question your quality – if you were an organic #LikesforLikes, or if you were bought. Instead we join the call for authenticity. We no longer will lose ourselves to the unnecessary and self-induced feeling of competition and instead will seek connection. Thank you for what you built, but we’re happy to watch it burn. Cheers to rising from the ashes a more engaged, less captive audience.