We shouldn’t obsess about our number of followers and likes
By Naomi Ambrose, Staff Writer
Kanye West recently made headlines once again for another one of his controversial statements. West tweeted about having an option to turn off the visibility of a social media user’s number of followers and likes. While many of us might be quick to dismiss Kanye’s statements, I think this time his words are worth exploring—especially in this age of excessive social media consumption and production.
Let’s first examine the definition of social media. At its core, social media can be described as the use of various
devices and systems to create and share different types of digital and online content. The use of the devices to create and share the content also involves engaging with the content via comments and likes.
The focus, from the definition, revolves around the act of content creation and engagement. Does the definition include followers and likes? No, not at all. I think if we focus on the true purpose of social media, this unhealthy obsession over the number of followers and likes we have can be reduced.
Eliminating our large follower obsession could also reduce the competitive and monetization-driven nature of social media. It is a race to see who can get the largest number of followers in the shortest time frame. Dozens of companies and entrepreneurs frequently emerge, claiming to increase an Instagram or Twitter user’s followers.
Sometimes, users see ads in their feed from entrepreneurs and startups that specialize in follower growth. A quick Instagram search for increasing followers results in countless Instagram follower growth accounts. A similar search on Twitter yields similar results.
On the other hand, the users with hundreds, thousands, and millions of followers may not support having an option to hide the number of followers and likes that one has. After all, users with a large following can make a lot of money. Many brands pay users with large followings to post content about their brands. According to a Forbes article by Clare O’Connor, “Fellow fitness influencer Lyzabeth Lopez, creator of the Hourglass Workout, charges between $3,000 and $5,000 per post, and between $20,000 and $100,000 per campaign.”
Senior marketing professional Brittany Hennessy also broke down the amount of money social media influencers
can earn. “Per-post influencers can make anywhere from $500 a post, some of them are making $30,000 a post,” said Hennessy in an interview with Business Insider.
Social media users can also spend several hours on dozens of platforms to help them to figure out the monetary
worth of their Instagram account, based on the number of followers that they have.
It’s interesting to think how social media might evolve with less focus on the number of followers and likes. Perhaps there will be more focus on creating and sharing meaningful and valuable content that educates, motivates, and entertains.