I recently came across a post on Instagram that broke down how much money popular influencers are paid per post. It’s no secret that sponsored posts have been popularized on social media but the figures were still shocking. Although Instagram is set to hide “likes” on their app, the amount of followers someone has will still be visible. And, we all know, the more followers someone has the more power and influence they have which is why someone’s following sets their price or how much they can charge for sponsored posts and ads. Some features on Instagram are even locked until accounts gain at least ten thousand followers. So will hiding likes really make social media feel more real and be more enjoyable? According to an article on Entrepreneur.com, “These shifts will take time, as Instagram is only rolling this change out on a limited basis, but if the network sees it as a success, you could see other social media platforms adopt similar features. As a result, social media may be able to get back to being more social rather than a popularity contest, which can be a win for brands, genuine influencers, and users who want social media to be a positive force.”
I have yet to see if this change will have an affect on my social media experience, however, this entire situation has made me feel less enthusiastic about using social media. It’s been a while since social media has felt good. I have followed pages/people for years and as their following and popularity grew, I have seen the number of ads, sponsored posts, and perfect pictures increase. In other words, the more followers someone has the less likely they are to keep it real. They become a walking billboard. I felt like I went from following people to following robots. Seeing how much money influencers can potentially make and how much money some are already making, has left me feeling like we’re on an episode of Black Mirror. Everyone is seeking perfection because they want to sell ad space. Let me explain. On one hand, I think it’s great that there’s this entire new way to make a living and to make money. Being an influencer is an actual and legit career. However, we’re living in a world where “likes” were having such a negative affect on people that they had to be removed. Those of us who are not influencers or popular on social media are aware of the status and power that comes along with having a huge social media following and it made many feel insignificant. Everyone is trying to monetize their accounts. In a nutshell, I don’t think hiding “likes” will change social media. Let’s face it, who we follow on social media is important because we give them power. It’s like casting a vote. “Likes” or not, there will always be a way to measure influence because social media has become a business.
I have been shifting my social media experience by being mindful of who I follow because with a click of a button I am supporting and promoting pages and people. The images we see over and over on social media have an affect on our mood, behaviors, and mental health. We all know how important it is to be mindful of where we spend our money. In recent times, boycotting brands have gained momentum. Yet we follow pages/people who make us feel bad about ourselves, don’t represent us, and are misleading. It’s no wonder people feel inadequate or that they’re not good enough when they’re bombarded by perfect photos or ads that set forth unrealistic expectations. Keep in mind, whenever you “like” a post or follow someone on social media you’re likely to see similar posts and pages and the loop will continue. If you feel worse after going on social media or feel overwhelmed, take your power back and follow people and brands who stand up for the things that matter to you. Follow pages/people that are real and genuine. Follow pages that are useful, make you happy, and improve your life.
When you click that “like” button or hit follow, you are promoting and supporting that page or person. Your “likes” turn into dollar bills. Be mindful of who you follow on social media, because it’s a powerful thing.