By Ashley Hocking
Hello, my name is Ashley, and I’m addicted to Instagram.
I admit it. I put a lot of time and effort into my Instagram photos. Before I post an Instagram, I typically spend at least 30 minutes editing the picture, trying to pick the best filter and thinking of a clever caption.
In order to accrue over the coveted milestone of 100 likes on a post, there are unspoken rules you need to follow.
1. You need a fanbase.
In order to amass likes, you need followers who consistently see your posts on their timelines. Followers help increase your presence on the app. If you get enough likes on a post, your post might end up on the explore tab or “popular page.”
Once one of your posts ends up on the explore tab, it can set off a viral effect that leads to Instagram fame and an exponential number of likes.
2. You need to post pictures with other people.
When I post pictures with friends, they tend to like the image because they are in it. Mutual friends as well as friends of mutual friends start a chain reaction of likes that inevitably leads to a well-received and heavily-liked post. Featuring others in your posts seems to be a key to getting likes on posts.
3. You need to post pictures of similar interests you share with your followers.
As a member of a sorority, I’ve noticed that when I post a picture with sisters or a reference to my sorority that my likes skyrocket. The similar interest in Greek life from a good portion of my followers usually leads to a popular post with multiple comments and hundreds of likes.
4. You need to show a little PDA.
Pictures of couples are also a fan favorite on Instagram. Cutesy pictures of my significant other and I undeniably receive more likes than any other pictures I post.
Nowadays, society measures a relationship’s success by the quantity, frequency and sincerity of the pictures you and your significant other post on Instagram. If your boyfriend doesn’t post a heartfelt PicCollage about you on your birthday, does he even really love you?
5. Post photos at the right time of the day.
While the title of the app suggest posting “insta”ntly, there are peak times to post. In my experience, I have found that the best times are at noon and 6 o’clock. These opportune times are around when meals are typically served and when users get on their phones to see what they missed while they were in class or at work.
Instagram is ultimately a photo-sharing app. It’s ridiculous that posts have to be shared at just the right time, with just the right people in them, and need to share just the right common interests with your followers in order to get liked.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that it’s just an app.
With so many unspoken rules to follow, Instagram can get in the way of social interactions.
It is common for my media obsessed generation to enjoy social gatherings based on the number of likes and comments their photograph of the event accumulated Instagram, rather than the quality of the experience.
At any given social event, half of the people in attendance are on their phones in my experience. Did it even happen if you didn’t post about it on at least one form of social media?
It can quickly become an addictive process to refresh your timeline every 30 seconds to see exactly which users are liking your posts.
If a post doesn’t get enough likes, some users may take it down because they view the number of likes on their picture as a reflection of how many people like them in real life.
It’s human nature to want to be accepted by our peers. Even the most confident individuals are susceptible to the feelings of rejection when their posts don’t receive very many likes.
In order to make followers jealous, picture-perfect posts about exotic vacations, romantic dates with your significant other, and wild nights on the town with your best friends are shared.
I frequently find myself wondering how my own life looks through my Instagram feed, rather than just living it.
So, what’s the solution to society’s addiction to Instagram likes? Try unplugging from the digital world for a change. Put your phone down, stop monitoring the number of likes a post received, and interact with your friends and family for a interrupted evening.
The number of likes you receive on a post is insignificant and does not define your self-worth.
You can’t go through life making decisions and doing things based on how many people you think will like your post about it. Contrary to popular belief: just because you didn’t post about it on Instagram and get hundreds of likes, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.