So let’s do a social experiment, please leave a comment telling me if you have had this same thing happen to you: Often when I am either scanning my feed on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram or reading a blog, I will come across a piece of content that seems pretty ‘meh’ to me. But just as I am about to move on, I notice it has a huge number of social shares. I often stop, and think “wait, am I missing something here?”, and I will go back and review the content a second time.
Have you done this? I do it all the time, and studies have shown that most of us do as well. We often let number of social shares and popularity metrics such as Likes influence if we will consume and share content.
Well with that in mind, consider that Instagram is experimenting with a pretty revolutionary feature; Hiding the number of Likes its posts get. If this feature rolls out to all users, then Instagram users would have no idea how many (or how few) Likes any content posted on the site receives. The content creators would still have access to this information, but not the content consumers or users.
I’ve long speculated that behavior by both content creators and content consumers would change drastically if the number of social shares content received wasn’t public. Too many of us consume and share content simply based on number of social shares or Likes. If this was taken out of the equation, we would likely share less content, but it would be content we were more likely to have personally vetted. So it would, in theory, be of more value to our networks.
If Instagram rolls out the hiding of Likes to everyone, I suspect that will actually lead to MORE comments. I believe users will feel more compelled to explain why the DID share the content, what they liked about it. If so, this would be invaluable information for the content creator.
What do you think about this idea of Instagram hiding Likes on its posts? Do you like it? Hate it? Would you like to see more social media sites adopt a position of hiding social shares?