Kanye West and Measuring the Impact of Social Media

By Lena Aziz (Account Manager – Social) and Bayleigh Way (Social Media Account Executive)

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At the same time as social media has become a crucial platform for brands looking to establish their personalities, amplify their content and connect with customers, the central role this technology plays in our everyday lives is increasingly under question.

Would the world be a more care-free and happy place if social media apps hid metrics for followers, likes and comments? Social media culture has created plenty of pressure, particularly for millennials, with the number of likes not only defining ‘popularity’, but also (more worryingly) coming to represent their worth.

American rapper Kanye West, recently took to Twitter to critique the detrimental effect of social media on its users:

“[W]e should be able to participate in social media without having to show how many followers or likes we have. Just like how we can turn off the comments we should be able to turn off the display of followers. This has an intense negative impact on our self-worth.”

The outspoken rapper invited the heads of Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter to start a conversation about the effect removing metrics could have in relieving the pressure young people feel to validate themselves through likes and shares.

“There are people who are committing suicide due to not getting enough likes. Seeking validation in the stimulation,” said West. “I personally want to participate in social media with the option of not having to show my followers or likes.”

Social media’s detrimental effects is no surprise to Facebook’s founding president Sean Parker, who recalled specifically building the platform to be “a social-validation feedback loop… exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”

“We need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever,” Parker said. “And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments.”

Interestingly, of all the social media apps, Snapchat is currently the only one without front-facing metrics.

No metrics for brands would mean no herding effect, and the need for content to be better, braver and bolder than ever.

What would you post, if you weren’t worried about how it would be received? And what content would you like, if you didn’t know 1,000 other people liked it already?

FCB Social are a dedicated, award-winning social specialists’ team, delivering socially-led content across campaigns and bringing clients’ “brand personalities” to life with effective, two-way community engagement. 

Date: November 10, 2018