Is Social Media Giving Us Status Anxiety?

Social media giants Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are considering changes that could minimize status markers—likes and followers—when using their sites.

Instagram has recently announced that it wants to make follower counts “much less prominent” in user profiles.

It’s a sentiment being shared by other social media giants. Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey said at a recent TED conference, “If I had to start the service again, I would not emphasize the follower count as much. I would not emphasize the ‘like’ count as much. I don’t think I would even create ‘like’ in the first place.”

A metric-free social media, however, would look very different without likes, views, and follower metrics prominently placed. Likes and retweets have long been strong signals on social networks of power and prominence—even ad money.