If you’ve logged on to Instagram this morning, and let’s face it most of us probably have. You might have noticed something missing. From this morning, Instagram is hiding the number of likes posts get from users.
Apparently this trial, which is being rolled out in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, Ireland and Italy, is intended to free people from the pressure of getting likes. And, hopefully, users will be free to post more of what they like, rather than what they think will get the likes.
‘We want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves. We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love,’ – said Mia Garlick, Facebook’s Head of Communications and Policy in Aus & NZ.
But what does this mean for the outdoor community?
We’ve written before about the effect of social media on the outdoor world, looked at Instagram vigilantes, and considered how it affects people’s travel choices. But will removing visible likes have its own impact?
There’s been a growing trend towards Instagram tourism, with travellers heading to lookouts, rock formations, and waterholes just to get the shot. Searching for the shot has also seen people jumping fences, tresspassing and risking it all in dangerous spots. But if you can’t brag about how many people like your photo, will it be worth it anymore?
It’s a tricky one, on the one hand, viewers of your content won’t know how many other people like your shot, but as an influencer you can still see the same post metrics as always. This means you can still promote your reach and your value, you might just have to work a bit harder to get your figures seen.
Will it affect where we travel?
‘2 in 5 Australian and New Zealand travellers have been inspired by, or plan to visit, at least one overseas destination previously unknown, introduced to them via social media.’ says the Kathmandu Helpful or Harmful Report.
I’m sure that I’m not alone in having visited a spot that I’ve seen through Instagram, in fact looking for new places to visit and experience is one of the main reasons I use the platform. But will the lack of visible likes on a post deter me from going somewhere?
Definitely not! Likes or no likes, if a place appeals to my sense of adventure or aesthetic, then I’m going to go check it out.
Good Content Will Still Be Good Content
Overall, I can’t see how this move by Instagram will be anything but a positive. Without having a number of likes to show off, hopefully people will fulfill Instagram’s mission and start posting more of what they like, rather than what they think will do well.
But if my favourite Instagram accounts start posting more selfies and less backcountry adventures, I probably won’t keep following them for long!
Let’s get ‘gram-attical