Even though many millennials aren’t much older than today’s teens, we grew up in entirely different worlds. Most teenagers have had access to smartphones and social media accounts since they were in elementary school and as such, they have the added pressure of Instagram “likes” on top of the already tumultuous landscape of high school. And that’s why they’ve allegedly developed an unspoken code on Instagram: If you have more than 25 pics, you’re not cool.
An in-depth Washington Post article explored the world of teens and social media, and it shed light on the fact that even though many teens post plenty of pictures throughout the week, you’ll find that many only have up to 25 pics on their feed. That’s because teens curate their “best” moments, deleting any pictures that don’t get enough likes, don’t have good enough lighting, or just don’t seem cool enough.
“I decide the pictures that look good,” 13-year-old Katherine Pommerening told Post. “Ones with my friends, ones that are a really nice-looking picture.”
Teens are becoming tiny social media wizards, figuring out the perfect times to post pictures and learning more about their audiences to get the top amount of likes. “I’ve had friends who have posted pictures they love, but when they only have 50 likes in the first hour within posting it, they delete it and say ‘just wasn’t getting the likes I thought it would,'” 15-year-old Dan Godlewski told Tech Insider.
The magic number, Dan told Tech Insider, is 60. “I’ve deleted some,” he said. “Usually if someone has over 500 followers and posts a picture, they expect it to bring in at least 60 likes, anything less usually means the picture will be deleted.”
In fact, some teens actually use methods to garner more likes if they feel a post hasn’t received enough attention — such trading likes for a “tbh,” which means “to be honest” — giving a truth or fact about the person. “[This girl] gets so many likes on her pictures because she’s posted over nine pictures saying, ‘Like all my pictures for a tbh, comment when done,'” Katherine told Washington Post. “So everyone will like her pictures, and she’ll just give them a simple tbh.”
Whoa, this is blowing our minds. We had no idea this was even a thing! We have a feeling many of these teens will be getting jobs in social media — they’re all insanely good at it, after all.