Social media platforms are warping people’s views. Being in the industry, we’ve known this for a long time. Initially it felt harmless – optimising ad views and click-throughs to sell products, services. We moved to selling stories, brands and happiness while our tracking became more and more specific, scary and accurate. The expose of the Cambridge Analytica saga was public proof that even more sinister things are being actively being undertaken.
However something has fallen under the public radar for too long. Social media ‘likes’ have turned into a vanity self-worth measure where users live or die by the popularity of their content or aspire to impossible standards and disingenuity snapped by pseudo-celebrities.
For about a year now Instagram has been experimenting with hiding ‘likes’ on the platform. Possibly to “depressurize people’s experience” (head of IG, Adam Mosseri) in the app or were they seeing poor engagement with newer users with low like counts? Either way, there must have been some kickback by IGs analytics and profitability departments that the removal of likes is just too bad for business. To no-one’s surprise, you can view likes again.
No doubt the power of social media is great, but how can we make a platform work in favour of users and create a community of uplifting others, instead of obsessing over your own popularity?
We made the explicit decision to not have ‘likes’ in the Good Empire app. However user feedback is important, and creating a community of support is key, so we are implementing a concept of endorsements. The key difference between ‘likes’ and ‘endorsements’ is that endorsements are scarce. Initially you’ll only get 3 endorsements per day. This means you have to think before giving out your endorsements, and receiving them is a more personal and meaningful interaction. An added benefit is that you can’t get stuck death-scrolling giving out ‘likes’ to every post reminiscent of some kind of Oprah – you get a like, and you get a like – pointless interaction.
Your first endorsements will be 3 basic types focused on creativity, inspiration and hilarity. As you level up in Good Empire you can choose to upgrade your endorsements which will make them more powerful and meaningful. As a very high level user you could get access to a rare “Greta Thunberg would be proud” endorsement and bestowing this to a lower level user will be motivating and something for the user to treasure!
We want to create a community and culture that doesn’t encourage or reward vanity or narcissism, but creates one of impact and support. We want to provide a platform and a voice to those who might not have one. Proving that we do have power, we can take action, and we can help to save the f**king world, together.