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Will public social media data soon be a thing of the past?!
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April 23, 2019
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A LIKE-LESS WORLD

In mid-March, Twitter users were inadvertently sent into a panic when news broke that not only was the company testing a new design for threaded replies, but Twitter HQ was making it harder to see the number of “likes” and retweets on a post. Twitter brushed aside criticism of removing these public numbers, saying the changes are just a few of many tweaks the platform is evaluating at any given time. But now, Instagram is playing around with a similar design change to get rid of public “like” counts on posts, a move supposedly meant decrease competition amongst users and increase people’s well-being on the app. This is unsurprising given a recent survey named Instagram the worst social media platform for users’ mental health, along with the uptick in unchecked hateful content on the platform.

Even if these tweaks aren’t pushed to users right now, it’s important to note a public data-less social media world is what these platforms are seriously considering. And if you believe it’s just big-name Twitter politicos and glossy Instagram fashion influencers affected by these changes if they go through, think again. Our entire frame of reference for social programming on the internet—both as consumers and as brands—has been through the lens of numbers. Before “likes” on Facebook, it was comments. Before Facebook even existed, Myspace was showcasing friend counts. (How much drama was created over the platform’s Top 8?) The lineage of public engagement data goes on. Let’s face it: The perception of who we are based on these numbers has always been part of our experience online.

So what happens when we take all of that away? Right now, no one has the answer. The few attempts at public data-less social media haven’t caught on. When it comes to making these changes on platforms everybody already uses, there’s no telling what the fallout would be, whether good or bad.
ICYMI

  
Converse released a new Pride collection ahead of June’s LGBTQ+ Pride Month, featuring both rainbow and trans flag designs.

  Postmates and rapper Kid Cudi provided $10,000 of Popeyes to residents of the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission during his time at the music festival.

  During the month of April, Pacific Standard is running an illuminating series called “Understanding Generation Z.”

  Beyoncé’s well-received concert documentary Homecoming is just the beginning of her work with Netflix; she inked a deal to create two more projects with the streaming service—to the tune of $60 million for all three.

  Yesterday was Earth Day, and brands ranging from Apple to Michelob Ultra showed how they’re putting the planet first.
Today's Quick Hit
 22 teachers share the kindest thing a student ever did for them.
DoSomething Strategic (formerly TMI Strategy) is the data-driven consultancy arm of DoSomething.org. We help brands and organizations engage young people for positive social change.

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