US blogger Katie Bower has sparked intense debate – and come under intense criticism – for writing a moody post about one of her kids not attracting enough ‘likes’ on Instagram.
“It killed me inside”
Katie’s mum to five cute kiddos, but as she celebrated her son’s birthday with an Instagram update most of the caption she wrote alongside his photo detailed how unpopular he was on the platform.
“I am gonna be perfectly honest … Instagram never liked my Munchkin and it killed me inside,” a disheartened Katie posted.
“His photos never got as many likes,” she continued. “Never got comments. From a statistical point of view, he wasn’t as popular with everyone out there.”
She theorised that her son was the baby of the family for a short time – because she had 3 other kids in quick succession – and decided that people on Instagram “like babies” the most.
Oh. My. God. What in the hell??
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) November 19, 2018
“One day he will see the numbers”
Katie said she was reflecting on her child’s Instagram popularity to learn a little more about herself … and also to preempt her son’s possible self-esteem dip when he realises he was not very ‘liked’.
“I say all that because I want to believe it wasn’t him… that it was on me. My insufficiency caused this statistical deficit because obviously, my Munch should get ALL the love and squinty eyes are totally adorable,” Katie wrote.
“I wanted to clarify that I revealing this feeling because I know one day he will see the numbers and have to learn that his value is not in online approval,” she wrote.
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Commenters on the post were pretty outraged by Katie’s concerns – and rightly so – with comparisons to Black Mirror and assertions of terrible parenting being bandied about.
Even Chrissy Teigen weighed in with a perfectly summed-up “Oh. My. God. What in the hell??”
View this post on Instagram
My thankful thought today is about just being able to have so many dang kids. People look at us like we are crazy. We don’t get invited over to peoples houses often. And we are constantly toddler chasing, diaper checking and breaking up fights. Yes…we are loud and obnoxious. No…we don’t fit in restaurant booths. Yes…we are always late to everything because someone can’t find their shoes. No…one babysitter isn’t enough. And yes…I am incredibly grateful and perfectly overjoyed with my chaotic number of children. I know everyone has their own number…some people are perfectly fulfilled with no children, some want twenty…but this…to me…my little handful of babes is everything I ever wanted. I didn’t know five was my number until I had them and now I can not imagine my life without all five. And boy am I grateful…it is my cup, my plate, my table, my heart overflowing ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Like for like
The post has since been deleted or archived, but screen grabs have been uploaded to Twitter and Katie’s being slammed.
“This is some dystopian Birthday shit,” one person wrote.
“At least he knows what’s coming up on his quarterly performance review,” another posted.
“The algorithm is my mommy now,” someone else commented sadly.
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Last baseball game of the season and we are so proud of our little ballers! ❤️❤️❤️ Weston and LJ both did awesome tonight and I got brag on LJ who hit four for four at four! (That’s four hits for four times at bat at four years old!) ⚾️⚾️⚾️⚾️. And Weston of course rocked it but also came home and while we watched the World Series he said “when I get older I’m not gonna play baseball. I’m just gonna stay home all the time.” Spoken like a true introvert ??? gah I love that kid! #proudmama #lovemyfamily #boymamawhohappenedtohaveagirl
“From a business side”
Katie’s spoken to media to elaborate on her post, explaining that she personally doesn’t value ‘likes’ but that they have broader implications.
“I adore all my children and do not see them in terms of ‘likes’,” Katie told The Independent. “I decided to talk about it because I learned a valuable lesson … that our value doesn’t depend on someone else seeing our worth. Numbers are public already. Everyone can see the likes and comments.”
“As a parent, those numbers mean absolutely nothing. Nothing can change the fact that ALL children are special and unique and deserve love. The numbers have zero meaning. But unfortunately, from a business side, we hear ‘keep posting the content that brings in the most engagement’.”
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I was editing photos yesterday for today’s post all about our trip to the rodeo and I saw that picture of Will and just LOST it. Like ugly cry. I told y’all about how literally I had no idea what the deal was with 9-11 when it happened (I was a stupid airhead at the time that didn’t realize that people were actually in the buildings ?♀️) and it didn’t hit me until a year later that so many people died. But every year it gets progressively more emotional for me. And yesterday was no exception. It felt filled with poignant moments of grief and remorse and honestly some shame – because who is that stupid?! And now to be more aware of that situation – to understand….for the folks who lost someone. And I couldn’t imagine…couldn’t process…couldn’t handle the day. So all that to say…sorry about the the diversions yesterday- I was trying to do anything but think about it…because sometimes it takes a minute for some people.
While the horror of this post is undeniable, are we really surprised to see thoughts like this in black and white?
Instagram is jam-packed with images of kids shared in the hopes of attracting attention/likes – and perhaps creating a much-needed income stream for young families.
What’s also undeniable is that if we ever needed an official line in the sand – and a reminder to assess what role Instagram plays in our lives and who we’re elevating on the platform – this is it.