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Hey IG, It’s The Sheeps: We Want Our Likes Baaack

Ammar Mahmood
Nov 12, 2019 · 4 min read

So, Instagram is rolling out its U.S. market test of eliminating post likes from its feed. The news has garnered equal shares of love and cries of imminent poverty from the rich and aimless. Check this article for a quick recap snack. Some influencers and celebs oozing melodrama with pronouncements like “Instagram is dead,” claim that likes imbue their feeds with the mystical sirens’ song that draws millions of dolla dolla bills from eager brands looking to stay relevant with the kids.

Now, this is kinda true. But much like that dummy, Odysseus, if likes on the feed is the solo metric brands are looking at before they decide to shotgun those five-, six-, and seven-figure deals at major Instagram influencers, then they deserve to be shipwrecked and devoured by sea monsters (is that what happened in the book? We just read the Cliff’s notes.). Point being, there’s a gaggle of hullabaloo surrounding this mundane decision that really just amounts to shifting consumer perception. That’s right — CONSUMER PERCEPTION. It’s a change in what the public sees.

So four things here:

  1. THEY STILL EXIST: Numbers are still reported on the user’s dashboard. So they can show off their fat stacks of likes to any brand that cares to know. Hell, they can screenshot that bad boy and post it to their feed for all the world to see if they like.
  2. FEAR: Negative reactions about this news seem to be more telling about the person than the news itself. Removing post likes forces users to give more thought to what they are seeing in the post itself. If it resonates with them authentically, they will respond to it honestly. That places more pressure on influencers to create quality posts that actually mean something to their followers. That’s a lot of pressure. Especially if you can’t buy likes anymore to maintain appearances of positive engagement (yeah, even celebs do that).
  3. BETTER STATS: Myopic marketers will have their second eyes opened to the vibrant new world of the third dimension. With likes out of the way, we can focus on more meaningful metrics like post shares, click-thrus, and the actual content of post comments — real feedback from real people. Looking deeper at these stats will force more thoughtful decision-making about the value of each influencer for a brand’s objectives and drive more authentic partnerships that don’t hang lazily on the lowest branch of fruitless data like a wayward starving sloth.
  4. THE SHEEP: It appears that influencers who value those visible likes seem to bank on a peer pressure phenomenon to boost their engagement. There may be a valid point here. Presumably, if a follower sees that 2 million people have already liked a celeb’s post then “it must be good, so I should like it too.” *Tap* But again, this goes back to influencers needing to earn the damn thing. We’re flipping making widgets for a living here and you’re taking 132 pics of yourself to get that perfect candid pose. It’s a fair trade.

Here’s the problem. Every time a platform makes a fundamental change to it’s UI/UX, people lose their minds. They act like the government just came in and raised our taxes, dismantled healthcare and education, and institutionalized racism. You know, like really crazy real stuff that would never actually happen…😏Yes, a flurry of displaced emotions will unwind online: The social media ecosystem is going to collapse and we’re all going to be flung back into the horrific dark ages of talking to real people about real things again.

No.

We’re fine.

If this becomes the new norm for Instagram, two weeks of pent up anger about our spiraling-out-of-control lives will be redirected online at this not actually big deal, and then it will pass. And everyone will love IG again. We will all return to the blissful micro-hypnosis of the endless scroll, at peace once again with the latest update about that amazing new eye cream that makes Kim look 20 again. But this time, when you tap that little heart of approval, only you and Kim — and nobody else — will know that that love came straight from your heart. No cap.

Thanks Instagram, for showing us a better way. The sheep abide.

But seriously, if you remove the damn highlights we will lose our s#!t!

Thanks for reading! If you were an IG post we’d tap that. Visit tinybeast.la for more information about our creative and marketing services.

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