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Instagram in 2020: Less About "Likes," More About Authenticity (EXCLUSIVE)

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The power of social media has become more than just a digital space to post a "highlight reel" of one's life. Social media apps give people the ability to not only discover new things from all over the world, but they also inspire and influence change. With more than 1 billion users, Instagram has become a friendly space where its users can discover in real-time what is happening on the other side of the globe. 

Take for instance teen activist Greta Thunberg, who traveled across the Atlantic (twice) in a boat to raise awareness for the ongoing climate crisis. With constant updates and new features being added to the 'Gram, users can follow and uncover more than just what their mutual friends are doing on a Friday night. 

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@Instagram's popular content series #DoyouFollow, #Advocates, and #HiddenGems, directs Instagram users to numerous channels that talk about political issues, showcase art, fashion, dance, travel, and more. It's everyday people being able to connect to very real stories.  

Moving into the new year, Instagram is not ready to rely solely on its successful model. Instead, the brand is working on continuing to foster a community and increase users' experience on the app. So, how does the digital app plan to do this in 2020?

Hiding "likes" on Instagram has become a hot controversial topic.

Distractify spoke exclusively with Instagram's Head of Content, Jeffrey Wisenbaugh, and the VP of Global Partnerships, Charles Porch, about experimenting with hiding "likes" on the social app, what makes for good content, and what trends will be #canceled in the new year. 

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Source: Courtesy: Instagram

VP of Global Partnerships at Instagram, Charles Porch (L), and Head of Content, Jeffrey Wisenbaugh (R).

"It’s still a test, I don’t know if we’re going to move forward with it or not," Charles told us on Dec. 9. "We want Instagram to be a place for self expression and a lot of young people value themselves on the amount of "likes" they get, which is not what we’re trying to do in the world."

Adding, "I think a lot of people are actually really excited about it. ... I think what everyone is rallying around is the idea of it and the idea of making Instagram the most positive and safe place to express yourself." 

While Charles did not want to make any predictions on how this possible new feature will affect brands and influencer marketing, the VP of Global Partnerships did reveal that Instagram is working with individuals and businesses to generate feedback to better Instagram's overall experience. 

The biggest trend on Instagram is authenticity. 

"For creating [content] for yourself, it’s really about being your authentic self," explains Jeffrey. "It’s finding the thing that you are really, really passionate about and that you really care about and using the services of Instagram to make that come to life." 

Both Jeffrey and Charles stressed the important factor of authenticity and how they're seeing a decrease in curated content heading into 2020. "[People] are just looking for that deeper connection," says Charles. Adding, "You’re there for the people. Photoshop or editing in that way sort of puts a barrier between feeling like you can personally connect with someone."

Overall, the new trend is less about perfection, and more about sharing your authentic self. Though, filters will very much remain a staple of the brand.

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