This week the Daily Mail published a study suggesting that excessively filtered selfies result in fewer likes on Instagram. In a world where nothing is quite as it seems, I was secretly thrilled that the tide appears to be turning.
Elaborating on this further, the results are said to suggest that ‘using techniques to improve the way that the image makes you look are seen as ingenuine by users’.
Let’s face it, there’s nothing less authentic than an adult pretending to be a dog, a bunny or with butterflies around their heads.
So, what do Instagram users want to see?
Apparently, for a post to be rewarded with a ‘like’, people want a larger insight into a user’s life. Not unreasonable since we could argue that this is the point of social media.
Pictures that showcase a person’s job or hobby can give posts a boost. Inviting people into your home and sharing an insight into economic status can also work in a post’s favour.
By revealing personal details, users were seen as more willing to engage with others. In return, this behaviour is reciprocated with ‘likes’.
What does this mean for the future of Instagram likes?
Hopefully, this represents a positive shift in the way that people share on the platform. Instead of a place which is dominated by good looks, poses and pouts, it would be lovely to see Instagram become more of a scrapbook. A place to share our favourite memories rather than our best angles.
To filter or not to filter?
The study doesn’t condemn the use of any filter. Rather, the findings show an aversion to excessive use. I interpret this to mean those selfies which distort reality or could be perceived to be shallow.
In my opinion, regular filters which are used to create consistency across the grid are less likely to result in a decrease in engagement.
Personally, I really welcome the news that people want a little more authenticity on Instagram. It will always be a place to show off, but let’s at least brag about something a little more real.
Let’s focus on a fantastic Christmas spent with family or a once in a lifetime holiday with friends. It’s a great deal more inspiring and worthy of Instagram likes than a stream of selfies which value looks over real life experiences.
This isn’t the first time we’ve delved into the ‘ins and outs’ of social media. In fact, it’s a topic that I find particularly interesting. Find out what else I had to say about social media here.