The Phenomenon of “Likes”

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Why oh why is everyone so obsessed with likes? What difference does it really make if your Instagram photo has 50 likes or 500? Will the photo suddenly change? Will the colors pop more or the contrast intensify? Will your teeth become more white and your blemishes disappear? Will the picture in any way, shape, or form change?

It’s really interesting that we (myself included) will judge a photo based on how many likes it has. If a stunning picture of a sunset only gets 20 likes, then eh…it’s not really that pretty. But if a mediocre selfie hits triple digits, suddenly it’s a great picture. Why? Because other people have put their stamp of approval on it, so it has to be pretty amazing. If 400 others thought this was a good enough picture to like, then it must be worth something. We assign value to things based on a skewed system of popularity. We want what everyone else does. We allow others to control our desires.

At a restaurant, this makes sense. If everyone’s devouring the shrimp tacos, then those things are probably quite tasty. In that case, I’ll have ten!

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But in real life, when it comes to people, it’s irrelevant. You shouldn’t let anyone else decide how you feel about someone. Jimmy could get a million likes on his shirtless picture, but still be a pretty crappy person. And Mike might only get a few likes here and there – but GET THIS – he might ACTUALLY be a really great guy! It’s a crazy concept, I know.

There are people who will delete a picture if it doesn’t get enough likes. There are people who will comment “like for like!” and “like back!” on pictures of celebrities. I know people who sit and like every single picture on their newsfeed in the hopes that friends and followers will then return the favor. People literally make it a full time job. But for what? What are they really accomplishing? What are they winning?

I’m not saying it’s not nice to have a lot of followers and get a lot of likes. I’m not saying I don’t check how many likes my Instagrams get and I’m certainly not saying I hate it. What I am saying is that it doesn’t affect, control, or alter my life in any way. I don’t lose sleep over it and it’s just not something I think about. And that’s the way it should be.

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One thought on “The Phenomenon of “Likes”

  1. Very interesting post! I was sitting in a cafe the other day and there was an art work of a person lying in bed looking sad, while holding a phone with only the desire of being liked and friended on social media. As you said, Social Media and likes shouldn’t ‘ affect, control, or alter my life in any way.’

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