Two days ago something FASCINATING happened. I posted this poll on my Instagram story and a ton of people responded (around 150 in the end). Almost unanimously, people agreed with Kanye and would prefer that likes and follower-amounts be made private.
People who answered the poll included both people with large followings (high-end was 400k+) and small followings (low end was 199). Kanye has more followers than all of us put together. Clearly no one is exempt from the sensitivity that accompanies people seeing our numbers.
Yet we are still participating, still doing something that we know doesn’t make us feel totally good. I will share vulnerably that my anxiety around likes has made me take down photos in the past. It’s always the same situation: the last photo did really well, and then I post something more personal and it gets little love in comparison. I feel naked, vulnerable and left out to dry. I know intellectually that this is ridiculous, it isn’t personal, it could be the wrong time of day or a fluke and who cares if other people like it if I like it blah blah blah… But still I take it down.
The truth is, I think, most of us care… at least a little bit. It’s how we are wired. Evolutionary reasons have us biologically composed to want to be on the INSIDE not on the OUTSIDE. And yes, even a social media post gone unliked can trigger that limbic brain response.
Kanye tagged the founders and leaders of Facebook and Instagram in his post and asked them to consider making the numbers private. Technically, this could be workable because influencers would still be influencers (the numbers would still exist, it’s just that others wouldn’t see them unless you shared privately); it wouldn’t kill business.
But I imagine that these successful men are well-aware that humanity thrives on competition, that without the numbers being public people might actually step off of the wheel and lose a bit of their addiction. Or at least a bit of their interest. These guys have quotas to hit, shareholders not to disappoint.
I am so intrigued by the human condition and the way this game of life works. It’s incredible to see what we are all, myself included, consciously – or unconsciously – choosing into. I have done a lot of work around my relationship with social media, and I do enjoy it – most of the time. So far it is still worth it to participate… But if that ever were to change I would be committed to listening to myself and adjusting accordingly.