Blog 9 – Justin Gums

For my digital space evaluation, I chose to evaluate Instagram, and in particular its decision to get rid of the like button and the amount of likes on a photo. The four articles that I chose actually dealt with that topic and gave some insight as to whether it was beneficial, as well as why Instagram actually implemented its new design in the first place.

The first article I read talked about the scientific effects of the like button. In a recent study done at UCLA, 32 students were asked to post a picture and after 12 minutes their brain activity was recorded. The conclusion scientists reached regarding the information they gathered was that students who received more likes experienced an increase in brain activity and the production of dopamine. So, in reality these likes to act as a drug and stimulate satisfaction, making likes more and more addicting. This is why many scientists are under the impression that the like button is so ingrained in our brains that any acts to get rid of it will detrimentally affect the use of the social media platform.

The second article I found talks about how the like button actually affects a person’s mental health. The overall idea of this is that people become so infatuated with what people think and any negative comments are taken to heart. As a result, there is a push by Instagram to get rid of the likes and comments in order to promote a positive self-image, and a disregard for other’s views of your image when in reality it is just your opinion of yourself that really matters.

Explained: What is Instagram?

The third article I chose to read basically just explains the interface and its uses. Instagram is a very interesting social media platform because it revolves solely around images, unlike twitter, Facebook, and many other smaller sites. This focus on image makes the app unique because it allows users to view and more importantly judge others based off of their looks. This judgement forces users to post content that will get them more likes and will make them more famous. This focus on image has both benefits and downfalls but it seems as though the popularity of the interface has come because of its unique features.

The final article I chose to read actually talks about the potential benefits of getting rid of the like button. In general people have a very negative view of losing the like button so it was nice to see an alternate opinion regarding this issue. The author was in support of this for a number of reasons. The biggest of all of them has to do with the fact that we will be able to get rid of the concern over what others think of us, and as a result we will create our own self-image. The second major reason for her support of this decision was because of the fact that many people hesitate to post pictures because they potentially wouldn’t receive as many likes, so as a result our feeds would be filled with more and more pictures of the people we know.

Overall this topic is very interesting because there are contrasting views to such a simple change. I am looking forward to further analyzing Instagram’s decisions in order to analyze their decisions regarding the app’s design and its interface.