There might only be one reason why I get jealous on social media. It has nothing to do with drama, though. The way people utilize status updates, relationship statuses, and pictures never gets to me. I like to think I am above all that. Yet there is something that makes me feel a little inadequate, something that kind of makes me feel like I have little to offer.
This minor insecurity complex happens on Instagram. At one moment I will feel a little bit of joy that I posted a picture that received 21 likes (with only one or two spam likes). But then I will scroll down my feed and my brief moment of jubilation will turn into a moment of “Brent, you are such a loser” when I see that my young cousin posted a photo of a Gatorade bottle that happened to get 107 likes. Kind of takes the wind out of my sail.
Each day I am reminded that Instagram is a young person’s tool. And when I say “young” I don’t mean mid-twenties. I am talking about the age range of probably 13-22 years old. Several months ago I noticed the huge numbers some of the younger people I follow on Instagram were getting and I asked a student worker in our department how she and others were getting so many likes on their photos. She told me that Instagram was pretty much her generation’s Facebook and that was the social media service that everyone is on 24/7.
Okay, fair enough. But back when I was 19 and I had a prospering Facebook account I never came close to getting triple digit likes for a picture or status update. I guess with the proliferation of smart phones it has made liking things much easier, especially on a service like Instagram that is solely made for such devices. But again, something has to give. I stay on top of things, I am current, I use hash tags…where are all of my likes?!
I have to be fair, many of the people I see who receive 50+ likes for every single photo don’t abuse hash tags, in fact, they don’t use them that much at all. Instead, I think the true testament of their success can be found in their follower numbers. Many of these people who are pulling off extraordinary like numbers have follower ranges in between 500-1,200. But even with this observation, it still doesn’t make total sense. I can post a photo that has a cute girl holding a puppy, give it a killer filter, load it with ten hash tags, and still struggle to get 20 likes. Someone else can take a picture of her shoes and go #NoFilter and still get 100 likes. Okay, let’s factor in the follower discrepancy now…I have 361 followers while this girl has 800 followers. I am getting 5.5% of my followers to like my photo while she is getting 13% of her followers to tap her photo twice.
I see my younger relatives, my younger friends, and the student-athletes at my work pulling off these gigantic numbers on an everyday basis. I admit it, I am jealous. I am bitter that I have to try so hard and they have to try so little. But in the end I guess it is a good reminder that social media is a young person’s game and I have to work extra hard to stay on top, even if I can’t pull off enough Instagram likes. Don’t Blink.