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article imageAre we reducing our obsession with social media validation? Special

By Tim Sandle     Sep 4, 2019 in Internet
Instagram has started hiding ‘likes’ in response to concerns for mental health. But what does this mean for the people that have made a living out of their visible Instagram popularity? Expert Fahad AlSaud provides some ideas.
Many influencers who depend social media likes and interactions to make their income will have to find new ways of making money, following changes in place or about to be put in place by social media platforms. According to Fahad AlSaud, founder of Fayvo, a social media app, influencers who rely on engagement and likes for business matters will take the biggest hit from these changes.
Fahad shares with Digital Journal's readers some insights about how a future without visible likes will look for the average Instagram user.
Digital Journal: Why has Instagram altered the way posts are liked?
Fahad AlSaud: In my opinion, Instagram wants people to focus more on the content rather than the number of likes, because most of the users started to value the content based on the number of likes or views it has. This led to a subconscious behavior which is underestimating good content that has low numbers of likes — and in my opinion, this can decrease the engagement and retention of most of the users because the majority aren’t influencers or businesses.
This behavior reminds me of how we usually focus too much on ratings and reviews which don’t necessarily match with our lifestyle, but we still believe that it’s the right way to judge whether something is good or not. I usually don’t trust ratings and reviews because from my experience it sometimes underestimates or overestimates a place, product, or service. However, I always trust a recommendation from someone I know and based on research and studies, I’m not the only one who feels this way — 92% of consumers always trust recommendations from friends and family over anything else.
To solve this problem and improve people’s everyday experiences, we built Fayvo’s useful platform for users to share their favorites with their community, and we can say that Fayvo is digitizing word of mouth, so with that, we can now value things based on the favorites of people we know.
DJ: Will there be a full ban on likes?
AlSaud: From what I read in most articles, Instagram users will not have a full ban from likes, meaning that users will still be able to receive likes and know who liked their posts, but it just won’t show those likes to the content viewers.
I can’t say if it’s the right or wrong path — I’m sure that it’ll get both positive and negative reactions. Personally, I don’t really care about the number of likes I get, but it’s reported that subconsciously the more likes we get, the happier we get. “Likes” make our brain produce dopamine, which is a chemical that’s associated with pleasure, so likes can be an addictive experience. I’m sure Instagram had that in mind, which made them take a diplomatic social action by keeping the likes for the content creators but hiding it from content viewers. Otherwise, they’d be pushing their users to find the pleasure of likes in other platforms, and I personally don’t think that Instagram’s team is brainless enough to give their competitors users from their market share.
Regarding popularity, I think it’s still going to be by posts that are on the explore page, the number of followers, verified accounts and shared posts between users. I also think from time to time, popular accounts will screenshot their posts analytics to show it to the public, and this behavior is common in Snapchatters because it’s the only way to show their social influence strengths.
DJ: What are the implications for those who use Instagram as a revenue stream?
AlSaud:I think they’ll have to work harder, as the competition will be increased by smaller businesses and influencers since they’ll be considered equal without likes.
DJ: In what other ways can people generate money through Instagram?
AlSaud:I think people will try to find other ways on Instagram, however, I believe that they’ll also look for other revenue streams instead, where it will be much easier for businesses and influencers to advertise.
For example, sharing your favorites on the Fayvo platform will make your ads look more organic than posting it on Instagram or any other platform. And since we’re integrated with other platforms, users can take action within Fayvo, so it’ll be much more useful for their followers as well.
DJ: Will the cutting down of ‘likes’ impact on other social media?
AlSaud:People usually fear change — and this is a big change, so I’m sure there are going to be intense reactions from users and it’ll definitely impact other social media platforms.
From what we’ve seen and learned from Snapchat’s last big change, we saw that most of the users resisted the new interface design and the logic behind it. I remember that they were trying to find ways to get the old design back, but today we don’t hear the loud noise that we heard back then, whether it’s because they got used to it or they simply didn’t have another choice. as
As a wise man said, “To every action, there is always an opposite and equal reaction”. I’m actually excited to see what’ll happen — I think we will learn a lot from this case.
DJ: What alternative social media platforms are there?
AlSaud:Fayvo is a new platform that is actually centralizing the digital and real-world, so users can easily save different types of favorites. For example, you can save photos from Instagram, books from GoodReads, movies from IMDB, music from Apple Music, videos from YouTube, places from Google Maps, products from Amazon, and so on. We are still adding more APIs to the list to make sure our users can find and save all their favorites and organize them easily in one platform.
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