Instagram has been making some major changes lately, likely as an attempt to curb Snapchat’s popularity and maintain users. I’m actually a fan of many of these new features, including disabling comments, easier reporting of abuse, ability to zoom in on photos, and the constant updates to the stories feature, it’s biggest jab at Snapchat. However, the ability to ‘Like’ comments to me is just pointless, especially for brands. Let me explain.
Engagement, you say?
This update to Instagram’s comments simply maintains a status quo. It turns the comments on Instagram into exactly what Facebook’s comment system is. Now, I get that perhaps it could be useful for establishing affinity, but I think it fails us in engagement. On Instagram previously, you’d have to reply to a person and either thank them for a comment or reply with an emoji or two. I feel the ‘like’ is going to make brands (and people) lazy. It’s going to minimize that conversational element in the comments section because now it is just easier to tap the little heart and move on than to give an actual reply. They’re saying it will increase “engagement”, but is that the engagement we really want?
Don’t you dare do it, Snapchat
I’ve seen many people saying that Snapchat should emulate this and follow Instagram’s lead. That is something I wholly disagree with. Snapchat has changed the game, and the expectations, for social. They removed the constant vying for ‘likes’ and the public social proof rat race of how much “engagement” your snaps get. Now, nobody knows how many views your snap story gets but you. People are less inclined to post that perfect photo and create content that is a bit more off the cuff. Responses to snaps can be silly, snarky, or stupid, without worrying about them living indefinitely on the web. AND, you never have to focus on whether or not everyone else likes what you just said. I think that is moving in a better direction.
This update to Instagram simply maintains the status quo of vying for ‘likes’, inflating our egos, and lazy engagement. Of course, if people wanted it, I’m sure Instagram was simply fulfilling the request. But in terms of innovation, I think it’s a step backward, or at minimum, no step at all.
What do you think? Comment below.
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