Hide the numbers
A tweet doing the rounds at the moment shares screenshots from Instagram
of a woman expressing concern that photos she posts of her young son don’t get enough likes. She worries what this will do to his self-esteem when he’s older. “I know one day he will see the numbers,” she says.
The Verge reports:
“By emphasizing an account’s number of followers, (Twitter CEO, Jack) Dorsey believes it incentivizes individuals to post more polarizing content that has the potential to go viral and attract more followers, creating a more divisive and toxic discourse on the platform.”
Damn right. And there’s a strong argument for removing visible metrics from public view entirely. If you know people have liked and shared your post, that’s enough.
Turning everyone’s small utterance into a popularity contest is bad for us. It leads us to measure our worth through something totally beyond our own control – how many people arbitrarily decide to click a button next to things we share.
There’s plenty of talk about how we should cut down on social media use for the good of our mental health, but that doesn’t mean some of the staples of social media can’t be rethought too.
Sure, let advertisers use these metrics to target messages at us – that’s essential to Twitter and Facebook’s business models. But other than that, let’s just focus on what we want to share, and what people say in response.
Anika Saigal put it well on Twitter
: “Let the post exist as a human expression without the fickle signalling of its worth.”