Social media platforms are beginning to consider the importance of content value over social approval.
Hiding the numbers of subscribers and likes from public display could become the new standard. Several platforms are hopping on the bandwagon of prioritizing mental health in its connection to numbers of likes. They want the focus to be on content, not on the content’s popularity. Here are some of the potential changes to come:
If a YouTube channel has more than 1,000 subscribers, by the end of September you won’t be able to see the exact number. However, if it’s your own channel, you’ll still be able to see that exact number regardless of how many subscribers you have. Why? The reason is similar to that of other social media platforms that are hiding user likes or followers: mental health.
This doesn’t mean you will only see that a channel has more or less than 1,000 subscribers. The numbers will be displayed to the public in a more condensed form.
For example, a channel with 10,245 subscribers will display the number as 10.2K. A channel with 10,245,720 subscribers will display the number as 10.2M. Whether this makes a real difference or not is debatable. One could argue that these abbreviated numbers are harmful to the creator. Judging by the latter example, the numbers could be rounded down rather than up. Many content creators want displaying the condensed version to be an option, not mandatory.
Instagram was the first platform to experiment with the concept of hiding likes. They started the test in Canada, and recently continued it in six more countries. Again, this is an effort to emphasize content creation and downplay the pressure to get as many likes as possible. Users often delete posts that they feel didn’t receive enough follower approval.
Instead of displaying the number of likes below posts, it will say for example, “Liked by homebasedigital and others.” Simply “others” not “125 others.” Numbers of likes are also not displayed to the public on the VSCO platform.
While users have mixed reviews on the concept, it could be a game-changer for influencers and business owners, especially if they use Instagram as a place to sell their products. However, the stories feature on Instagram is still an effective method for both influencers and business owners to engage with users. There has never been a public display of the number of story viewers.
While Instagram is in the beta phase of hiding the number of post likes, Facebook is still merely considering the change. Like YouTube, Facebook wants users and creators to focus on the content value and not on the attention it receives. Another similarity with Instagram’s and YouTube’s initiatives is that creators will still be able to see their own numbers of likes.
Users may be shying away from sharing content if they think it won’t get “enough” likes. Soon, that might no longer be a thought process. People opposed to this idea feel that the number of likes is more closely linked to self-esteem on Instagram, and that likes on Facebook less important but are a way to gauge how useful their content is to their friends.