Students, professors discuss the value of an Instagram Like

Remember the time you posted that ‘cool’ photo on your social media accounts expecting all of your followers to like it, yet hardly any did?

Though Facebook and Instagram are completely different social media platforms, they both have one main concept in common: the “like” feature. Most Instagram users, young and old, have one goal in mind when they post a picture online — get ‘likes.’ But why, as a society, do we place so much emphasis on how many likes a picture receives?

“You get to immediately see more context (on Instagram) than just words,” said Andrea Hunt, assistant professor of the sociology department. “Pictures give you a completely different feel of the experience people are having.”

Hunt said people posting on social networks look to find acceptance in the form of a like.

“It is a way to seek approval from others that we are important and our lives are meaningful,” she said. “We might measure our popularity in this way. Sometimes our sense of self and self-worth can get wrapped up in what others think and we measure this by the likes.”

Sophomore Mia Adams said she thinks the main reason people join Instagram is because other people are joining the website.

“It’s the popular thing to do now,” Adams said.

The question of why society places so much emphasis on the number of people who like their photos or statuses remains.

People feel popular when they receive a large amount of likes, said freshman Patrick Lee.

“When I receive only two likes, I feel bad,” Lee said. “But then I just upload another picture.”

Adams said she feels slightly different.

“When I don’t receive a lot of likes, I really don’t care,” Adams said.

People put so much weight on how many people like their photos because it makes them seem popular, she said.

No matter how addicting social media is, it can also be stressful.

Some users of social media stress over if they have taken the right picture or how people will react to something they posted, Hunt said.

“We need to take a step back sometimes and realize that social media is not always a reflection of reality,” Hunt said. “A person’s health should matter more than how they look on Instagram. Taking a step back from all social media is a good idea.”