So let’s start off with saying that I’m not good at instagram. I watch stories more than I like or comment. I post inconsistently and can go from 3 pictures in a week to nothing for a whole month.
I have just over 100 followers and up until recently was averaging around 30-something likes per post.
But then all of a sudden I noticed that the average number of likes I was getting on my posts had dropped by more than half and at times by more than two-thirds.
Now I’ve heard everyone talking about this but it hadn’t yet happened to me so I assumed it wouldn’t, especially because I wasn’t getting a massive number of likes to begin with (does that make me naive?).
The reason it bothered me is because I think my pictures are good and they’re worth more than 9 likes. And that in itself is the problem, it’s not about Instagram, it’s about me (and you too).
We’ve taught ourselves to place value on what we shared based on the likes it got and allowed that to trickle into how we feel about ourselves. So, of course, when the likes dropped significantly it seemed that there must be something wrong. Why did people no longer like our photos and what did that say about us?
I think Instagram is doing a social study (or perhaps is a social study) on human behaviour. Tweaking bits of the app and seeing how it affects people. But their ultimate goal might just be to get us to use it more.
Most of the bloggers that I follow will post a photo with a bunch of tags. But they’ll also post it in their story and sometimes they’ll do a poll asking who has seen their most recent images and even ask people to go and like it.
Now something I find fascinating is that many people have also expressed that they spend too much time on Instagram and that they’re taking more of a post and go approach. And so if many of us are using the app less then of course our likes would drop because we’re spending less time on there.
However, if our use of the app hasn’t decreased and we’re still all spending too much time on Instagram and everyone’s likes are significantly lower, what are we doing on the app?
I think it could be the fact that we’re now watching people’s stories more than scrolling and liking. And it might just be me but if someone posts all their pictures from their feed to their stories I’m less likely to like or comment it if it comes up on my feed.
Furthermore if someone explicitly asks for a like on their picture, I’m less likely to do it.
Anyway the point I’m making is instagram is no longer just an app to look, like and comment. There’s IGTV, stories, polls, quizzes etc. So there’s a lot you can do even if you never double tap the pictures of the person you follow.
There’s a bunch of people that follow me and watch my stories but never like my posts and some of these are people I know in real life.
It’s not much fun to care about the likes because whether they’re above 30 or below 10 I still enjoy taking pictures and sharing them. It’s not worth the time or energy to complain to your followers that they’re not liking your stuff enough, they have their own lives.
They don’t care about how many likes you get whether they know you or not. And that’s how I feel toward the people I follow.
I’m not denying that there is an algorithm or saying that the people behind Instagram haven’t been playing around with what we see and who from because we all know that is true.
But that’s out of our control and it’s not like any of us are willing to ditch Instagram. And so the only option left is to find a way to make the best of it and stop focusing so much on the numbers.
If you find yourself huffing and puffing thinking ‘what’s happened to my Instagram likes?’, it might be worth remembering that the value of the photo is not in the number of likes it gets.