Her GadgetMatch

Why Instagram is doing the right thing by removing the like count

We need to change this ugly culture we created

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Instagram used to be a space where you can get inspiration to nourish your creativity. It was also a place to connect with people through disappearing photos and videos called Stories. However, the platform took a different turn throughout the years and became an arena — a battlefield where people show off who has the most perfect life.

People started curating their feeds to make them stand out. The age of curation dawned upon Instagrammers, bearing unto the world themes and grids to reflect the user’s personality and aesthetics. Instagram fuelled perfectionism, too.

What used to be a space to share mundane moments of your everyday life became a place where you show your glamorous life which, frankly, only happens every once in a while for most users. Admittedly, I also succumbed to the perfectionism and the pressure. I would post only the photos where I looked like I was having the time of my life. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with putting your best foot forward, right?

Increasing cases of depression and anxiety

Apparently, not everyone thinks the way I do. In a study published in 2017 by the Royal Society for Public Health in the United Kingdom, social media — particularly Instagram — is a major contributor to the increasing cases of depression and anxiety among the youth today. The rise of influencers and other people with seemingly perfect lives made a lot of users feel inadequate.

“What used to be a space to share mundane moments in your everyday life became a place where you show your glamorous life which, frankly, only happens every once in a while for most users.”

RSPH Chief Executive Shirley Cramer said, “it’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing – both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.”

Technology companies’ response

With this worrisome situation on the youth’s mental health, companies made an effort to help through technology. There’s Android’s Digital Wellbeing feature which tracks the amount of time you spend on social media, although it still requires a conscious effort to break your social media addiction.

In the crusade against depression and anxiety caused by social media, Instagram recently made a daunting move. The social media giant has started testing the removal of like counts in some countries, removing the user’s ability to see how many likes have been racked up by a certain person in their feeds.

People in dire need of too much validation, fret not. The feature will let you still see who liked your posts. Think of it as your usual form of public affirmation, but you get it in private.

Just like our stories, only we can see who viewed and reacted. In this scenario, only we can see who liked our posts. While this recent move can put a dent on someone’s ego especially when they crave external validation, this can have real benefits for some users’ mental health.

In a country like the Philippines, where social media consumes a chunk of Filipino’s time, Instagram is a big contributor in rising cases of mental illnesses plaguing today’s youth like the common cold.

The social media age has created a culture where people value their smartphones, social media accounts, and the content they create rather than socializing offline and establishing real-life connections. The youth measure their self-worth through likes and other forms of metrics that it’s taking a toll on their mental health.

If this is the ugly culture we developed, Instagram is doing the right thing of removing the like count. At the very least, they can stop other people from comparing their worth and relying on external validation to feel better.

“I personally don’t mind if the feature comes here or not, but I’m sure a few of my friends would care.” — Patricia Medina, a medical practitioner in the Philippines

However, some people won’t be able to accept the upcoming feature should it arrive in the Philippines, similar to how we all panicked when Instagram removed our ability to see the viewers of our stories after 24 hours. Despite the outcry, we adapted and got used to it.

Likes are not the only measure of influence

It may be hard to believe, but Instagram is on the right track. Aside from tackling mental health and fixing the problem their app posed in our society, they’re reshaping the marketing and advertising industry. Some influencers might be affected by the like count removal, particularly those who buy fake likes and followers, as well as those who became walking billboards for brands and agencies.

But for content creators like Ceej Tantengco, removing the like count won’t have much of an impact, rather it will reinforce her influence among her audience. “The brand partnerships I tend to get are with sustainable fashion and brands running women empowerment campaigns. These brands are less about pure numbers and more about connecting with brand ambassadors who truly share their cause and can speak about it with sincerity,” Tantengco said.

“The chase for likes has led to a sort of cookie-cutter templating of content based on what the algorithm rewards or what is easiest to generate likes. We live in a world where a selfie gets 800+ likes and a photo of what book the person is reading gets only 50. But like-bait content isn’t always the most thoughtful, and we need to be careful to not equate the number of likes to whether the brand message was communicated effectively,” Tantengco added.

On the other hand, Castro Communications PR Director Janlee Dungca is unbothered by the like count removal. Dungca, who works primarily with content creators and influencers, will still approach a campaign based on a brand’s goals and objectives. Likes aren’t the only form of visible metrics available since comments still count as a way to measure engagement rate.

Macro-influencers — accounts with more than 100,000 followers — tend to have higher reach but lower engagement, thus she opts for micro-influencers whose accounts range from 10,000 to 50,000 followers to get higher engagement for the brand.

“We live in a world where a selfie gets 800+ likes and a photo of what book the person is reading gets only 50.” — Ceej Tantengco

With this sudden change in the marketing landscape, people — not just influencers — might be more keen on engaging with other people through comments. People might start to make an effort to share their thoughts and interact, rather than just dropping an emoji of fire, heart, or a star-eyed face.

Additionally, people might not be as conscious of what they post anymore. Tantengco affirmed, “this move is great for people with advocacies because we can speak about them without worrying so much about ‘how do I package this to get the maximum number of likes’ and just say what we want to say. This feels very freeing.”

Moving forward, we might start to see posts of what people really care about again should Instagram proceed with removing the like count forever. There will be people though who will try to game the algorithm by leaving comments on each other’s posts and uploading video clips instead of still photos for validation as Instagram has not said anything about removing the view count.

Nonetheless, the future is bright for Instagram. I can’t wait to see moments where people embrace their natural selves and flaunt the things they’re passionate about again.

Illustrations by MJ Jucutan

Entertainment

Now Playing: Pride Edition

Celebrate the LGBTQ+ community!

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Happy Pride! To celebrate our LGBTQ+ community all over the world, we asked them and their allies about movies, shows, music, and podcasts you can watch and listen to, along with books you should read.

This list is also a good start to understanding the lives and struggles of our beloved LGBTQ+ community. You may refer to this article — Pride month or not! Here’s what’s Now Playing at Her GadgetMatch!

Videos to watch

Pride Conversations

MJ: Google concluded the Pride Month with a live stream entitled Pride Conversations, comprised of powerful members of the Filipino LGBTQ+ community sharing their remarkable and inspiring stories — from tales of coming out to their journey in owning their sexuality.

Movies to see

Love, Simon

MJ: A modern classic in today’s generation, Love, Simon is about yearning, secrets, and struggle of everyone in the LGBTQ+ community — coming to terms with your identity and getting out of the closet.

Prayers for Bobby

MJ: A heart-wrenching, tearjerker film that every parent must watch, especially when their religion and faith get in the way of truly loving their child.

The Half of It

MJ: Lighthearted yet revolutionary, The Half of It explores an introvert’s young love, sexuality, and loving in secret expressed through a love letter.

Holding the Man

MJ: Raw, honest, and genuine. It’s difficult not to weep after watching a touching piece tackling a love affair weathering the struggles of coming out in the 70s and 80s — remembering the horrors the stigma surrounding AIDS caused.

Free Fall

MJ: Jokingly known as the German version of Brokeback Mountain, Free Fall is a complex, hot, and passionate story about a married man’s internal struggles of falling in love with a colleague.

Blue Is The Warmest Colour

MJ: Blue Is The Warmest Colour is a moving film portraying a French teen’s beatific, intimate attachment to another woman.

Metamorphosis

Vincenz: Intersex is one of the minorities in the LGBTQIA+ community. This is a locally-produced indie film that shows how one explores and discovers him/herself. Just like the process of metamorphosis, s/he finally accepts and reveals who s/he really is to the eyes of many.

Sila-Sila

Vincenz: A depiction of complicated homosexual relationships: from hook-ups, break-ups, losing people you value the most, and even getting back together. A slice of life that shows laughs, joys, and tears of gay people throughout their relationship with their friends, family members, and partners altogether.

Shows to binge-watch

Queer Eye

Chay: The Fab 5 spreads love in Pennsylvania back in the US in the latest season of our favorite feel-good makeover series. Whenever I’m feeling distress or despair — especially during these difficult times — Queer Eye is the series that never fails to restore my faith in humanity.

Pose

Chay: House Evangelista is back for another season of ball culture, voguing, building new relationships and rekindling old ones, and confronting crises LGBTQ+ people of color faced in the ’80s. Prepare not just your favorite bag of chips but your box of Kleenex as well!

Love, Victor

Chay: If you enjoyed Love, Simon and find yourself wanting for more a spinoff series premiered on Hulu this month. Love, Victor tells the story of a new student at Creekwood High School — the ups and downs at home, making new friends, and exploring his sexual orientation.

Looking

MJ: Being in your late twenties and early thirties can be mind-boggling. Such is the case in Looking, where three best friends in San Francisco tell their explorations in love and in life while each taking separate paths.

One Day at a Time

MJ: A refresh of a hit sitcom in the ’70s, One Day at a Time is a modern comedy that has an upbeat take on tales of coming out yet still portrays the struggles of coming to terms with your sexuality within a family.

TharnType The Series

Vincenz: Not your typical sugarcoated Thai BL series as it eradicates homophobia as well as how they openly portray the sexual desires of two men. Expect a rollercoaster of emotions when you watch this series.

Gameboys

Vincenz: One of the first Filipino BL series that is timely and relevant — especially during this pandemic. Can you believe two gamers ended up falling for each other even with just a series of game battles, chats, and video calls? In my own thoughts: “Sana all hindi pang-quarantine lang“.

Hello Stranger

Vincenz: What would you do if you were paired up with someone you truly dislike? Hello Stranger exhibits unexpected love at an unexpected time, reminding us that love simply happens for everyone, regardless of your orientation.

Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to

Music Universal: PRIDE

 

Chay: Pop icon and ally Carly Rae Jepsen and artist and activist Mark Kanemura put together a Pride-themed playlist featuring music from different artists and eras that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and our right to express our true selves. This 90-minute playlist is perfect when you’re working out, experimenting in the kitchen, or walking to your neighborhood cafe for your iced latte fix!

Chromatica

 

MJ: Lady Gaga’s return with “Chromatica” has sent the LGBTQ+ community reeling over the nostalgia evoked by this eccentric album — bringing back the days of dancing to Gaga’s fabulous and bizarre pop music we loved.

Help by 10cm

Vincenz: Although the music video only showed minor scenes of how people consider same-sex relationships in public a taboo, the song’s message should dig deeper into our minds and hearts that we should ask for somebody’s help when all of these deep-seated issues come in mind.

Oh my God by (G)I-DLE

Vincenz: Originally a Now Playing: Volume 3 entry, he message of the song this time is clearer because it’s in English — and we can’t deny it’s all about two women having love and affection for one another.

Books to read

What If It’s Us?

MJ: Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera’s novel about two men stumbling upon each other in New York City is a refreshing take on common, gay love stories. It tackled love, signs, and universe — reminding us that we meet people in our lives for a reason.

Call Me by Your Name

MJ: A powerful, coming-of-age, and tale of coming out stirring a pot of raw emotions. Call Me by Your Name explores sexual awakening, yearning, and obsession over the course of summer in Italy, in the year 1983.


Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!

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Features

5 life tips to remember for budding women entrepreneurs

Show the universe you’re ready to be an entrepreneur

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Being an entrepreneur isn’t purely paradise.

Sure, it’s empowering to make your own money, work on your own schedule, and tell the world about your new venture. We get how dazzling and proud you can be when you are your own boss.

But the glossy stories of successful women entrepreneurs are just the tip of the iceberg. What many people don’t know is that behind the triumphant posts on social media, entrepreneurship entails countless days of hard work, struggle, and sleepless nights.

If you’re on the quest of starting your own business, let us remind you that a smooth sea has never made a skilled sailor. Although there might be a stormy sea ahead, you will get through it as long as you equip yourself with the right skills and investments.

If you’re ready to hop on your entrepreneurial journey, here are things you need to keep in mind.

Dress up like a boss

The first thing you need to do is show the universe you’re ready to be an entrepreneur. Get in the habit of looking put together, and dress like you’re already a boss!

Start wearing versatile outfits that work well in between your meetings with suppliers, clients, and partners. You can dress in similar tonal colors and match it with appropriate metals to look sophisticated.

Your phone also says so much about you, so it’s ideal to pick a color that represents confidence, simplicity, and elegance. It’s not just a gadget anymore, it’s a fashion accessory — one that can make or break your outfit.

If you’re having trouble deciding a color, white always works best. It’s chic, bold, and flexible; you can pair it with silver or any color you’d like and you’ll still look fabulous.

Learn how to get organized

From your day-to-day essentials to your smartphone’s apps, being organized is a surefire way to achieve success in business and in life. You won’t waste time searching your stuff when everything is in order. You can finish your tasks, and stay on top of your to-do lists.

Moreover, having an organized life can help you be sharp-witted and pragmatic. You’re less likely to be scatterbrained, allowing you to focus on your business’ survival.

Invest in an affordable yet powerful smartphone

No, you don’t need an iPhone or a premium Android smartphone to run a business. All you need is a phone smart enough to do the job for you, without making your wallet cry.

If you’re serious about being an entrepreneur, you need to stop getting carried away with the latest handsets. Owning the latest gadget won’t help you bring more money. To some, it might even be a liability since most people opt to pay in installments.

Frankly, smartphones depreciate easily over time. The smart decision is to get the best midrange phone you can buy — one that’ll bring value for your money.

One fine example is the Redmi Note 9 Pro, which retails for PhP 12,990. For the price it commands, it seriously packs a punch: It has a practical design that doesn’t look cheap, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner for quick access to your phone, and an excellent screen with perfect viewing angles.

Moreover, it’s powered by Snapdragon 720G, a 6GB RAM, 128GB internal storage, and a massive 5,020mAh battery. This ensures effortless multitasking and a hiccup-free usage for the whole day. It also has a quad-camera setup capable of taking decent photos for your business’ social media accounts.

Going digital isn’t the end-all-be-all

Most entrepreneurs capitalize on the internet and social media to run their business. While it’s true we’re all going digital, it doesn’t mean you need to do everything on your phone.

Start using notebooks and leather organizers in planning around your business. Writing helps with memory retention! Sometimes, you have to jot your notes down, plan your schedule old-school style, or write your ideas and strategies to expand your empire.

Make sure you have time for yourself

Running your business 24/7 isn’t enough for entrepreneurs. Sometimes, you’ll wish there are more hours in a day, so you can grow your business and tend to your personal errands. However, putting in more hours doesn’t translate to being successful.

Eventually, you’ll burn out and you’ll deplete the energy required to run your business. Sometimes, you need to take a step back and make time for yourself. Do the things you love, even if it means you need to binge-watch multiple episodes of your favorite K-Drama.

As long as you recuperate, you will have the energy to power through whatever obstacle you’re facing. When you take care of yourself, you take care of the future — both for your business and yourself.

SEE ALSO:

Redmi Note 9 Pro Max review: Perfect, like you’d expect it to be

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Apps

Top apps to achieve work-life balance using the MatePad Pro

Get your life back on track!

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At a time where working remotely is becoming the new norm, one might find it difficult to maintain a work-life balance.

The thin line separating work and leisure blurs when you’re working from home. There’s a constant need to stay updated and connected, yet our mind and body require us to step away from our work machines so we don’t burnout.

Thankfully, some gizmos are here to help us achieve work-life balance. For instance, the Huawei MatePad Pro is a powerful device that can help you organize your life and enjoy it to the fullest. To help you get on track, here are some tips on how you can utilize this premiere tablet using several apps.

Binge-watch your favorite shows

When you find yourself burning out, it’s time to step back and allow yourself to relax. You can watch some of your favorite films and TV shows through iFlix and Viu, which are accessible via AppGallery, or through Netflix via APKPure.

Stream your favorite YouTubers

Sometimes, the easiest way to unwind is to watch your favorite YouTubers. You can access YouTube using the Huawei Browser, just like you would on a Desktop. Although, you can add a shortcut to your MatePad Pro’s home screen for easier access — making it seem like you still have a YouTube app.

Play some games to unwind

There are games you can play, too. The crowd-favorite Asphalt 9, the social media craze Adorable Home, Ball Hop, Naruto: Slugfest, and many more are available through the AppGallery.

Read books while listening to music

When the day ends, it’s highly relaxing to read ebooks you can buy online. You can dive into the story when you use reading apps like ReadEra while you play your favorite tunes on Spotify, accessible via APK.

Sort your finances

At least once a week, make it a habit to sort your finances. Most banks have their apps available already on the AppGallery, such as Security Bank, CIMB Bank, RCBC, BDO Bank, Metrobank, UnionBank, and EastWest.

For quick online purchases and other transactions, GCash and PayMaya are also available.

Stay connected with the world

Most of the popular instant messaging apps are available through the AppGallery. For instance, you can use Viber and LINE — which pride themselves with end-to-end encryption. There’s also WeChat and Snapchat, which are popular in some parts of the world.

As usual, Facebook is still a staple to connect with other people. You can get it through their official website. Messenger and Instagram are also available via APKPure.

Get entertained by creators

If you want to be entertained by creators and ordinary people like you, you can download Kumu, TikTok, and WeSing via AppGallery.

Hone your creativity

For those who want to hone their creativity, the AppGallery has multiple apps for creatives such as Concepts, Canva, APRIL, and Desygner.

If you’re getting into digital arts, you can practice your skills using Adobe Sketch, AutoDesk SketchBook, Adobe Draw, MediBang Paint, and ArtFlow. These apps can be downloaded via APK!

Do work wherever you want

If you need a breather but you have a deadline to finish, you can take your work off your desk and bring it through the MatePad Pro. The AppGallery has multiple productivity apps that let you get your work done, such as Office, WPS Office, OfficeSuite, and Docx Reader.

Never miss an email again

When there’s a work emergency, you can hop on easily without going back to your work machine. Through Huawei’s Email app, you can access Gmail, Yahoo, or even your Outlook email accounts.

If you need to use Google’s services, you can access it via Huawei Browser. Use Google Search and Google Drive effortlessly. Treat the tablet as if it was a Desktop!

Plan leisurely activities

There are a lot more you can do using the MatePad Pro! You can plan your future travels using Agoda, Booking.com, Trivago, and Traveloka. If you love indulging yourself and your loved ones with good food, make sure to download Eatigo and Booky. On the other hand, shopaholics can enjoy Shopee and Lazada.

These apps are all available via AppGallery, so make the most out of life and reap your rewards for working hard.

Apps you don’t want aren’t here?

Some apps are still finding their way to the AppGallery. You can search them on the app and add it to your wishlist, and Huawei will surely do their best to make it happen.

Visit here to find more about the Huawei MatePad Pro.


This feature was produced in collaboration between Her GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.

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