The future of influencers on the internets might be hanging by a thread after a turn around by social media companies, now looking to take away quantified popularity. A social media influencer is an individual who has established a following on a platform and can persuade others by virtue of their reach either for money or incentives. Usually, likes and retweets tend to be the capital of these individuals and so is it their gateway to business with brands and even entities.
Recently, Instagram began facing out the ‘like’ feature in a bid deflate the much worshipped popularity on the internets and in what the company says is taking away pressure around posting content. In Kenya, social media influencing alongside blogging and vlogging have contributed to the paradigm shift of content distribution and creation. For companies to partner with an individual or digital institution for influencing, the number of ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ really matter at the negotiation stage. It is pretty much like availing your papers for a job interview. These persons with huge followings take pride of likes and retweets and this is the only way a company is able to pick on the best platform to lay their content on besides the type of content.
In April this year, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey hinted that the social media company might do away with the ‘like’ button saying that social currency attached to the number of likes and followers has corrupted Twitter’s original intent. Dorsey said the ‘like’ button along with the follower count contributed to an unhealthy contribution on social media.
“One of the choices we made in the early days was we had this number to show how many people follow you and the number of likes on a handle. We decided that numbers should be [displayed] big and bold,” Dorsey said. “Was that the right decision at that time? Probably not.”
Instagram on the other hand is actualising its decision to remove the ‘like’ button and has already began doing so in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Brazil and Japan. In the past, a general rule was… if you received 10 per cent of your followers in likes, that was a good influencer to work with. Brands will now have to rely on the metrics influencers provide them. Well, considering Instagram has been a full time job for some of the influencers, the move is a game changer and individuals will have to work harder on engagement and audience relations.
Speaking to a high flying Kenyan influencer who did not want to be identified, the fear that Instagram might go ahead with the removal across the world is real and this means a dent on financial welfare for many. “The company will be killing careers and opportunities that many influencers have worked hard towards. It is unfortunate that this is the only way Instagram and other social media companies intent to arrest human vanity online.” In the same breathe, Pintrest has also hinted on curbing the overgrowing popularity through ‘likes’