Adelia here coming at you with some serious truth – I am not sure how exactly to get into all of this, but I am extremely passionate about social media, the influencer industry, and positivity, confidence, and high self-esteem within that industry. As an advocate I feel the issue of like counts is an important, yet overlooked element to the whole industry. Sure, likes can serve as a status symbol or an indicator of financial or other success, but aside from this, likes can trigger negative psychological issues that are honestly unnecessary. Today I am going to explain my journey of self love as I worked to reverse the psychological damage I once allowed FROM AN APP.
The idea of writing this post first came to mind weeks ago when rumors surfaced that Instagram would suddenly hide like counts. What this means is that even though one can still know the number of likes a post is receiving, finding that number becomes a tedious task that many people may not bother to do. Who knows if this will ever happen but regardless, the internet freaked out.
Ok let’s backtrack to 2011 when apps like Instagram were still very new. At first I honestly thought it was just another editing app at first and I did not realize I was actually posting low quality, vintage-looking images of my living room for my two friends to see. When I eventually understood the concept of social media, and how it’s a very public space, things changed. I distinctly remember the first time I reached 10 likes on a post. Instead of the usual selfie, I shared a random meme that made me laugh. Later I noticed that instead of listing out the names of the few friends who cared what I posted I saw “11 likes.” Before that day I didn’t know this was a thing, but I did know that this number gave me a high. Instantly, I wanted more affirmation for whatever I had to share, and that need for validation continued to grow.
Cut to today, after years in the business of social media marketing and influencing, I give ZERO cares regarding who likes my post, how many people see or like my post, how well my post does compared to other posts, and the list goes on… Want to know how I got here? Here’s a hint: the answer isn’t more likes.
Somewhere along the line, whether from my experience with cyberbullying to my desire to emulate other bloggers, I got to a point where I cared way too much about social media. I struggled to live in the moment and I used likes as a measure of my self worth. Then about a year ago I suddenly had over 50 instagram posts deleted due to a glitch with the app. No warning, no one to contact to get them back, they were just gone. This glitch deleted important sponsored posts and altered my engagement rate and other stats. About a week later the same posts magically re-appeared (a common occurrence with the particular glitch) and I could have simply breathed a sigh of relief and gone back to my obsession. Obviously that’s not what happened. It is unfortunate that it took loss for me to realize what was happening and to make a change, but I am fortunate to be in a completely different place.
This event taught me that Instagram is not forever. Sure we will always have archives and such, but the validation I currently receive is not something I can always count on, and honestly it should never be that way. The app could become completely unpopular, the influencer market could crash and burn (again), or our accounts could be randomly deleted, and all that effort would be gone and out of our control. The word “control” comes up a lot for me regarding this topic, and what freed me from my need for social media validation was accepting what I can and cannot control.
I can control the quality of the content I produce. I cannot control who sees it. I can control the time and effort I put into my work. I cannot control how people receive it.
And that is ok.
I know it can be hard to truly receive this message: that we cannot control our likes and that’s ok. I am just putting this truth out there, because someone needs to hear it.
Also, as cliché as this sounds, another way to look at this whole social media thing is it’s just one tiny part of the universe and there is SO MUCH MORE out there. I feel like I am starting to ramble with a tangent, but you get my point. There are many ways to stop caring so much about likes, and this is how I found peace.