Competing for 'Likes'

The need for social media validation

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Instagram has recently announced that it is experimenting with the removal of its 'like' feature in 7 countries.

Those of us who have been using social media for quite some time now have realized that not everything we post gets rewarded with numerous 'likes.' And this has conditioned users to seemingly compete for 'likes.' Social media usage has in some way transformed into a popularity contest.

Many studies have found a connection between a person's social media usage and his or her stress level. And perhaps one reason is the need to gain validation through 'likes,' comments or private messages through posts inadvertently fostered in its users. But for the not-so-mature, the desire to get attention through social media is becoming unhealthy. Some even resort to humiliating, comedic, hazardous or even seductive posts just for these 'likes.'

Instagram is of the opinion that by removing its 'like' feature, the experience of its users will become more satisfying. But reactions by its users are mixed. Many have voiced their opposition to this move. Will Instagram buckle under the pressure of its users who have been conditioned to actively seek 'likes' or will it see the greater good of what they intend to do and help promote overall emotional wellness?

It is interesting to note that since the advent of social media, many people now engage in real life activities so they may have photos to post. For them, their online image has become more important. And this is happening to everyone everywhere, whether we 'like' it or not. 

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