Dear Trish: I’m always super stressed about my likes on social media. I’ve even deleted posts when they don’t get enough likes. Help!
Thank you so much for raising an incredibly important topic: the likes we get on our social media posts. I want to begin by affirming your experience: the reason this topic is so important is because it’s an issue that affects a ton of people, especially young people. I can’t tell you how many teens I’ve chatted with that have shared the same feelings and actions – anxiety over the number of likes their posts are getting (or who’s liking their posts), deleting posts because “they don’t seem good enough,” and even frantically texting friends to ask them to like their post, NOW! The good news is that while likes can be a source of stress, they really shouldn’t be. Why? In many ways, likes are kind of a myth…they don’t actually say anything about you and often aren’t an accurate indicator of your popularity.
What do I mean? Well, first and foremost, a number can never, ever sum up your self-worth. Particularly for young people, it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of “likes = how important I am/how much I’m worth.” The reality is that a number, by definition, can not possibly hope to convey everything a whole person is. It’s also worth remembering that that number is evaluating people’s self-curated portraits of themselves, often the moments when they’re at their best. I know so many people who get a ton of likes on their super fancy, super aesthetically pleasing Insta pictures…but wish that they could get a little more love and support in their real lives, which are much more challenging. Put differently, likes hide a lot about people. They seem like an easy way to evaluate folks, but there’s a ton missing.
In addition, likes can be a deceptive indicator, because they’re not just a product of how many people thought your post was cool. What do I mean? Well, as an example, people often pay for likes on social media. (I know!) If you’ve got the resources, there are a ton of services out there to boost your like counts – and even your follower counts! The implication is clear: we should be taking likes with a grain of salt. That conclusion is even more clear when you factor in algorithms: most social media platforms rank the content posted to their platforms via a ton of confusing algorithms. That means that even if you just posted that cute Insta selfie, it’s totally possible that your content might be the last thing on your friends’ feeds.
So, now that we’ve pulled the curtain back on likes, what can you do to avoid the stress? First and foremost, try to rework your relationship with social media. If you feel like social media is an extension of who you are, it’s possible that your relationship with online platforms is a little unhealthy. Take some time off of social media – platforms have made it easier than ever; you just deactivate your account, and then reactivate when you’re ready! Getting a little #socialmediaspace can be a great way to remember what really matters, what might just be the product of unhealthy, inaccurate perceptions. Another, quicker approach is to just turn off those likes! That’s right – you can actually hide your like count on platforms like Instagram. Out of sight = out of mind = a healthier mind and a healthier relationship with social media. I’ve included a helpful guide on how to make this change on Instagram here.
As always, thank you so much for reading along! I hope this was a helpful, and above all, empowering blog post. If you’re looking for answers to similar questions – or completely unrelated questions – join the dialogue! Share any Internet-related questions, thoughts, or perspectives here (and your topic might be featured in an upcoming TikTok/blog post!). Anything you’re experiencing is totally valid (and it’s more than likely that other folks in our community are experiencing the same things too!). 💙 One last thing – don’t forget that if you see an Ask Trish video you like, you should give it a like and share it on your social media. Let’s get all the #AskTrish love we can!
See you all again next Tuesday,