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Sorry Hot Chicks, Your New Boyfriend Means Less Instagram Likes

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I have a female friend who is very pretty. The type of pretty that when girls talk about her they would probably say, “Guys think she’s hot.” Which in chick-terms means they’re jealous of her looks. I’m sorry to generalize, but girls do this thing where if a friend is sexy they don’t give her much credit, and if she’s cool but “ok looking” they’ll gush about the girl. Using words like “beautiful” and “gorgeous” like they’re a used car salesman looking to get rid of inventory (This is a picture of every girl who has been called “gorgeous” by her hotter friend). Now my friend who you would all probably want to bang, like most people, looks even better on Instagram. She fully understands and loves the medium. She knows the lighting, shows cleavage and ass in separate posts as to give them their own moments, and her captions are vague enough to be flirting directly with each reader. Her Instagram game is, as the kids say, bonerific. This friend has recently gotten into a serious relationship and her posts have followed the normal, hot chick on Instagram with a new boyfriend, path. Pictures of them at dinner, attending parties, fall foliage tours, and plates of finished dinners with some caption about being an old fat couple. Good for her. Good for them.

But recently, I brought up to her that the likes on her pictures have gone down. At this moment, she kind of let out a sigh. It was the type of sigh when you’ve lost a grandma you used to talk with every day. She told me it’s been weird. She’s been getting the best and most affectionate in-person attention from this new guy, but there’s a loss of attention from the virtual world. She felt like she was learning who were her real friends. She was finding out who actually “liked” her and who was really just nudging her to say they were down to get naked without commitment. She’d lost her daily dose of attention from her nanas that were down to fuck. Then she admitted this was all a ridiculous way to feel. And maybe that’s your reaction. That this is a little much to be feeling over a like. That people who care about likes need to assess their lives. But my friend is just more honest with herself than you.

Let’s be real: When the red light at the corner of your Facebook page is lit, you check to see what it is. When it’s an invitation to a game or a farm you had no idea human adults would ever play with, you’re angry. It should have been something better. A like on your post about the government where you confused “their” and “they’re” but you kept it because it showed some character. When you go on Instagram and see the orange heart, you don’t take some time to scroll through everyone else’s pictures first. No, you check who liked it and make sure you put them on the list called, “Supportive” in the part of your brain that you continue to ignore. When you go on Twitter, it’s the retweets you care about more than the favorites. We all think these things. Unless you’ve never given a like or you give likes to everything you see, then it would be tough to say you think they mean nothing.

Everyone ignoring the reality of a like having currency is the reason the internet becomes so enraging. You’re taking away the very real point that every single post is made out of self-interest. The post about feminism, liberalism, conservatism, fetishism (enough with that dad), and the “I love you” post you could have just said to your boyfriend instead of making a post about it. All of those were in service of self-worth. Taking away the meaning of a like allows people to put all this crappy stuff on the internet and say things like, “That’s just my opinion” and “If you don’t like it, unfriend me.” Because, to them, they were just saying this for your benefit. If you didn’t get anything out of it, then leave their store. Except their store never has to pay rent.

Instagram recently had its fifth birthday and to celebrate they released some data informing us that the top five accounts are all women. There were some blogs that kind of waved this flag as a win for women. This article even starts by saying, “Dudes of Instagram: Let the women show you how it’s done.” This touchdown dance they’re doing ignores the reality of why anyone “likes” something online. Likes don’t happen in a vacuum. When an Instagram model posts a picture that’s a paragraph about haters, there are half the likes than a post of her butt. Every like says something. They’re to show support. They’re to tell you someone exists. They’re an indication that your male friend will support you as long as you’re single. All likes aren’t created equally, but they all mean something and it’s usually a boner.

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jtrain

Jared Freid (@jtrain56) is a New York City-based comedian who has been featured on MTV’s Failosophy and is the host of The JTrain Podcast presented by TFM.

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