Her GadgetMatch

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

We need to change this ugly culture we created

Published

on

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

Her GadgetMatch

Samsung Airdresser is a smart personal dry-cleaning closet

It can clean, deodorize, and straighten your clothes

Published

on

My desire to live a luxurious, connected life awakened when Samsung showcased the Airdresser. It’s a closet that will keep your clothes cleaned and straightened, without having to go to a dry cleaner.

Samsung’s Airdresser utilizes powerful air and steam through various technology to refresh and sanitize your clothes. Beginning with JetSteam, the Airdresser blasts steam through its Air hangers. Then, it sanitizes your clothes, effectively killing allergens, germs, and viruses.

It also uses its Deodorizing Filter function to get rid of any odor and unpleasant smells building up. Fret not, even if the Airdresser is a cabinet, it has Self Clean technology which cleans its interior, using a combination of heat, air, and steam.

The Airdresser prolongs your clothes’ lifespan, as well. Through HeatPump Drying, the cabinet cools down your clothes to dry it gently and quickly — reducing heat damage and shrinkage. The AirDresser then smooth out creases without using an iron through its Wrinkle Care System.

It dehumidifies, too, drawing air to remove moisture so your clothes are protected while smelling fresh. More importantly, the Airdresser isn’t limited to clothes. Its technology is built to handle towels, coats, wraps, shawls, and even fur! It’s definitely going to make anyone’s life easier.

Samsung has launched the Airdresser globally, but it’s expected to be available on select markets like UK and Russia. It will retail for GBP 1999.

SEE MORE: Being connected isn’t what makes a smart home a dream home

Continue Reading

Apps

5 best makeup filters on Instagram Stories

Nothing like the convenience of virtual makeup!

Published

on

Since time immemorial, apps and smartphones’ built-in beauty modes have allowed us to apply airbrushing, contour, lipstick, blush, and eyeshadow without lifting a makeup brush. But there’s nothing like the convenience of the virtual makeup we get through filters on our favorite social media apps.

Here we’ve rounded up the best makeup filters you should save on Instagram Stories. Apologies for the barrage of selfies you’re about to see!

Francesca

If, like me, your go-to everyday look is the winged eyeliner then Francesca is filter you need to save on your Stories. It’s best used when you haven’t drawn anything on your lids yet as it might be difficult to match your wingtip with the filter’s.

Try the Francesca effect here.

Eyelashes

If you’re the type who can’t leave the house without mascara, Eyelashes is the one you need to save. It won’t curl your lashes in real life, but any selfie you post from here on out will look like you made the effort to look nice even when you just got out of bed. There are 3 different styles of lashes because one size does not fit all looks!

Try the Eyelashes effect here.

Natural

Want to look fresh at 5pm even without retouching? As its name suggests, Natural will remove blemishes and blot oil from your face and the resulting selfie will still look as natural as possible. It also adds a little bit of tint to your lips without going overboard.

Try the Natural effect here.

Glitter Lips

Smudged lipstick after a greasy meal is a problem we all deal with. Get that selfie on point even without a trip to the powder room with Glitter Lips. Choose from 7 different glossy shades — there’s nude, pink, even gold!

Try the Glitter Lips effect here.

+2 Vintage*Blush II

This filter adds freckles and blush to your cheeks, and smoothens your skin out. But +2 Vintage*Blush II isn’t just a makeup filter — it also changes the mood of your entire photo to something warmer. You get a total of 4 different looks, with two adding noise to the entire image for more of that vintage feel.

Try the +2 Vintage*Blush II effect here.

We all get by with a little help from friends and technology. As with anything, use makeup filters in moderation and with the best of intentions.

Do you use makeup filters on Instagram Stories? Let us know what your favorite is in the comments below.

SEE ALSO: PSA: Snapchat dysmorphia is real

Continue Reading

Apps

Spotify’s Disney Hub lets you listen to everything Disney

Make music a part of your world

Published

on

You’ve got a friend in me — I mean, in Spotify and Disney. Together, they created a dedicated Disney Hub which includes playlists, soundtracks, and podcasts for Disney fans of all ages.

To find Disney Hub, open your Spotify app and search “Disney.” You might encounter a barrage of suggested playlists, but make sure you click Disney as a genre.

Among the curated playlists, you can find Disney Hits which are comprised of top songs from popular Disney and Pixar films across the world. You can also play Disney Favorites, Disney Classics, and Disney Sing-Alongs featuring nostalgic songs we love.

Speaking of love, Disney has a Disney Princess playlist for those currently in love and obsessed with their crushes. It’s complete with love ballads. Action-oriented fans can also treat themselves with Marvel Music and Best of Star Wars.

As we all know, music is one of the key ingredients why we all love Disney. Music makes every film memorable and magical, and now we can bring the experience to a whole new world. Now, let’s see how far we’ll go into the unknown. Let’s make music a part of our world!

Continue Reading

Trending