I’ve been hearing rumors lately – and maybe you have, too – that Instagram is in the process of removing the “like” count from posts. For years I have encouraged clients and other creatives to embrace social media, of course, but to make sure they weren’t putting all their connections and content in one place – especially a place that could go away at any moment.
We don’t control Instagram. Facebook does. And they could shut it down whenever they want and there is absolutely nothing any of us could do about it. Think of all those precious Vine stars years ago who became famous for 6 second videos and then suddenly – nothing.
Our life isn’t meant to be measured and judged by the number of likes we get on a photo. And the news about Instagram removing those like numbers has made me consider why it is I use social media at all. For years I LOVED it. I was an early adopter to all the things, I was phenomenal at a live Twitter party, I ran Facebook groups with thousands of women in them, I did live video on Periscope before it was ever an option on Instagram. It was my life – it was how I connected with women, how I did my job, and where I found validation.
I was GOOD at it.
I was great at creating beautiful graphics to share, coming up with creative ways to use the platforms to share messages or host book clubs. I was fully invested. And then, over the last few years, it’s taken a back seat as I worked to get my feet back under me after a job loss. And then it faded to the background a bit more as I worked on my first book. And then, after that book launched and I’d used ALL the words to share about it, it became even less important as I tried to discover where all my creativity had gone.
I’ve been trying to wrap my head around how I want to use social media for awhile now, long before Instagram started to make changes. If the only reason we’re using these platforms is to live on the applause of strangers, we need to reconsider our priorities. If the news of Instagram taking away your like count for others to see has you in a panic and conversations about what it means to be an influencer when you can’t track what other people think about you, maybe it’s time to redefine what it actually means to be an influencer.
Because I want to influence the people in my real life to follow hard after God, cheer for them when they do things scared, and speak encouragement into their lives.
Do I wish that publishers and people who hold the power to offer new opportunities looked at the heart and not the social media numbers? Absolutely. So my social media accounts aren’t going anywhere – but I’m going to use them in ways that bring me joy, honor my family, and point people to Jesus. Because at the end of it all I don’t want to hear “Well done on those hundreds of likes on that one post in 2019,” but “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Let’s stop living for the likes and start liking the life God has given us.