I HAVE an Instagram account, mostly because I love taking pictures and then editing them online. I also enjoy seeing the photos posted by my friends. But since I only follow 38 people, I have only 39 followers — all those people I follow, plus one stranger. This translates into me getting anywhere from zero to maybe three or four “likes” on average, per photo. I’m embarrassed to admit this bums me out, even though I know my pictures are often stunning, fabulous, and by all means likeable. What’s worse is when I see mediocre photos posted by others getting hundreds of “likes.”
My husband, wise in these matters, pointed out that this is because those people have many followers, and in turn follow many people to get those “likes.” One friend in particular follows more than 6,000 people on Instagram and has over 1,500 followers! Naturally, anything she posts gets scads of “likes,” even for an unexciting or just plain ordinary image.
Overhearing me bemoaning my fate, Mitch asked what’s so great about a lot of “likes” anyway. I thought about it and realized that almost anything I could think of is better than “likes,” which are completely meaningless! They are not legal tender. You can’t buy anything with them. You can’t barter or trade with them. You surely can’t eat them, and they won’t cure anything that ails you, in fact a box of Smith Brothers Cough drops is way better than a dozen “likes.” (Even one cough drop is better.) Street beggars don’t even want them.
Really, the only “like” that truly matters is your own, which is why I always “like” my own stuff on Instagram. After all, somebody’s got to.
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.