Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitter are all notorious social media apps that have, quite literally, taken over the internet. Millions, and potentially billions, of people from all over the world of different ages and backgrounds use these apps every day. These apps are used to blog, entertain, communicate, discreetly brag, bully, and think out loud. In today's society, you will likely not meet someone without exchanging social media profiles.
In May, Instagram gave its users the ability to hide the ‘like’ counts of their personal posts and the posts that may appear on their feed. For the most part, this change has had a particularly positive effect on its users. Most people don't seem to mind the change, with some even supporting it, due to the fact that it deafens the pressure people feel to reach a certain like count, subconsciously viewing it as a reflection of their value. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri argues that making this change ends the competition value the app holds in order to create an environment that focuses on creating connections. Following Instagram, both Facebook and Youtube have also removed like counts and continue to advocate for the mental health of its users.
As an avid user of most of the platforms listed above, I can say that there is definitely a negative toll social media can have on its users. As a teenager, I scroll through hundreds of pictures a day of people “living to the fullest” and having an “aesthetic” life. Apps like Instagram seem like places for people to brag and show off their life that everyone wishes they had. They post these pictures of themselves or what they're doing in order to prove to others how much fun they are having. As someone who perceives things deeper than surface level, this social media expectation doesn't faze me but I know that it can. For example, this new body standard social media has set for women to have a perfect hourglass figure definitely affects young girls. Nowadays, children are on social media destroying their body image at an incredibly young age. It truly hurts to know that thousands of kids are growing up surrounded with these unrealistic bodies and lifestyles.
YouTube, the aging online video sharing and social media platform, has now been around for almost 17 years and has kept its popularity since it first launched. YouTube allows for creators to post videos of literally any genre and topic you can imagine. Although YouTube has become an extremely informational yet entertainment based platform, it is also known for the hate its creators receive. Thousands of influencers on YouTube receive loads of hate in comment sections and dislikes on videos that they spent hours on. In November, they made the executive decision to hide the number of dislikes from the viewer remaining confidential to the creator. I am so happy that Youtube did this. Creators will still receive hate behind closed doors, but hiding those numbers will defeat the sense of competition. I have a great amount of respect for Youtubers, especially those who take a significant amount of time and effort to create something enjoyable to their subscribers, therefore this change has left me hopeful for the modifications yet to come.
As a teenager who will continue to be surrounded by social media, I am worried that we are so obsessed with the image we reveal of ourselves that our whole worth lies in the pixels of a screen. I am glad to see these changes but I am concerned that our society is too far gone to genuinely create a difference.