Instagram is a photo and video sharing app owned by Facebook. Throughout its rise in popularity, there have been many developments surrounding the social media world itself and how users can find profit in internet fame. One of the most sought after, and typically shamed, digital careers is referred to as a ‘social media influencer’. Holding the job title of an ‘influencer’ has become a relatively new career path that arose only a few years ago due to the rising popularity in socials such as Youtube and Instagram. As social creators grew with a sudden influx of followers and recognition, companies and socials themselves supported these influencers by paying them, or sponsoring them, to post about their products. Influencers have experienced an equal amount of shame and praise for their job, by normal users either judging what they do or yearning to achieve that little blue checkmark of verified success, but it seems that the most criticized ones are Instagram influencers. Many of the judgments stem from an issue that the followers have with what the creator continually chooses to post. Pages filled with fabricated photos, facetuned bodies, and expensive merchandise portray a life only a minority of the world’s population can relate to and it seems that Instagram is supporting this particular type of content. With Instagram’s boosting of verified profiles, there has been a change in how all types of users equal their worth by how many followers and likes they have. This obsession over online appearance and popularity has recently started a movement of some users abandoning their social media altogether. Apparently, this trend has caught Instagram’s attention with the announcement of Instagram planning to take away their liking system in future updates.
One of the major controversial updates that Instagram passed was the order in which user’s feeds were organized, making it so that everyone’s feed was no longer in chronological order but now based on their user’s interest and their ‘like’ history. This development caused an uproar in everyday users, because it made it more difficult to support who they follow, brought down the number of likes they receive on their own profile, and forced influencer accounts to clog user’s feeds. Although this update has been continually criticized since its introduction, Instagram has ignored its users’ complaints. Even with Instagram’s push of influencer content, those who use the social as their career have also found difficulty obtaining as many likes as they did before the update. For example, Kylie Jenner has millions of followers on her Instagram profile and was considered one of the first people to make a profit from posting photos on the app, but since the update, her likes now average 5 million per post. Logistically, someone with over 153 million followers should be maintaining more than half of the likes she is getting. Kylie Jenner’s page is a prime representation of how this development has affected other, smaller creators. If someone with the label of ‘mega-fame’ is not receiving the proper amount of like to follow ratio, then anyone under a million followers is experiencing a major default in revenue. Instagram’s disregard for user feedback combined with every day feeds clogged by clothing brands and influencers have caused a minority of the public to become disinterested in the platform altogether. Although Instagram influencers are clogging everyday user’s feeds, they are still having to find other ways to continue their career path.
Instagram singlehandedly created the social movement of modern internet fame. Those who are able to profit off of their posts have discovered a new lifestyle that everyone now wishes to create for themselves. This new social development in everybody wanting to join the bandwagon of being an influencer has inadvertently started quite the toxic mindset of one’s worth depending on how many followers and likes they have. Those who dream about making money from home, being sent free clothes, and all-expense-paid trips around the world depend on their Instagram followers, likes, and comments. To achieve internet fame one must be conventionally pretty, have great fashion sense, and offer an unattainable lifestyle. Due to the last major update that Instagram passed, every day feeds are filled with fanciful images that everyone wishes their life could be like. Some have called the images influencers have produced toxic because they only post about their ideal moments in life and reality is nothing like an Instagram photo or page. It seems that Instagram has noticed this toxic internet culture due to their announcement about their new update that will take away likes altogether. No worries, this update is still in testing and has only affected a few random accounts throughout the social. This possible development of taking away the social’s like system altogether is a double-edged sword. The positives of it are that it would create a more welcoming social environment where anyone can post whatever they want without having to think about if people would like it or not. It would immediately take the pressure off of something as minuscule as posting a photo. The negatives would be that those who are obsessed about likes would end up deleting their accounts and that it would be a major set back in Instagram influencer’s career. Influencers are already searching for new platforms to profit from, such as Youtube, Emenator and TikTok, but their job still revolves around sponsors on Instagram. By taking away their likes, it is hard for companies to distinguish the audience of an individual and what they respond to, so if those influencers have not already migrated to a new social, then they will have no choice but to once the update arrives.
There has been no word on the progress of this development, but the fact that they are testing it shows that the update may be arriving soon. The possibilities of how users will receive this update are endless, but if the update ends up as a failure then Instagram could always bring the likes back at the end of the day. With the public’s mixed responses of support and disgust, Instagram definitely has everyone sitting in anticipation on the edge of their seats.
|@Sierra Swanson||@sierrajoan||@sierrajoan_|| @sierrajoan_