What We Can Learn From The Unliked Photos Of Instagram

Nolikesyet.com is a site where you can see all the unliked photos of Instagram, but how does looking at rubbish photos help us?


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Instagram likes are no trifling matter. Likes aren’t just follwers tapping on images twice, but indications that you’re a purveyor of good taste, live a great life or look really cute in the mirror. Without likes, how can you quantify just how #blessed your Sunday was, or how nostalgically pleasing your #throwbackthursday was, or just how crushable your #womancrushwednesday is? (BTW, women crushes are for at least a few weeks, not just for Wednesdays).

In fact, within just seconds of putting a photo up on to Instagram, we can bet you’ll be back on it, checking if anyone has bothered to like it yet. And if you check back later in the day (as 57% of Instagram users do) and don’t find a single like? Sometimes, unless you’re willing to publically admit defeat and hashtag it with some oft-searched keywords (tagging anything with #sex or #fun tends to work), you’ll just delete it. After all, what’s the point in sharing your life with the world if no-one in the world likes it?

It was also recently argued that Instagram is the most dangerous social media site, as it is basically all of the most depressing portions of Facebook filtered into one hand-held place. The author of a report called Envy and Facebook: A Hidden Threat To Users' Life Satisfaction? called told Slate: 'A photo can very powerfully provoke immediate social comparison, and that can trigger feelings of inferiority.'

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That’s why the new website nolikesyet.com is pretty sad. A web app that links into your Instagram account (you can’t actually get it on your phone), it has an algorithm that helps pull up all of the images on the social network that don’t have any likes. And the ‘yet’ part doesn’t mean that the site pulls up every single image that doesn’t have a like yet – even a topless Justin Bieber selfie will have no likes for a quick moment in time – but photos that haven’t had a like after a long time.

And what we’ve learnt from the app is that some people just don’t get much luck. A recent study by Curalate, a 'marketing and analytics suite for the visual web' found that Instagram photos with blue as the dominant colour get 24% more likes than those with any other dominant colour, photos of human faces (that’s where the selfie comes in) are 38% more likely to get a like and light images get 24% more likes too.

Instagram photos with blue as the dominant colour get 24% more likes than those with any other dominant colour

That doesn’t explain then, the photo on nolikesyet.com where a man, half naked in bright blue shorts, has taken a selfie using a mirror, has received no likes. Maybe because he’s snarling and giving the v-fingers and isn’t what a more polite person would call ‘conventionally attractive’? Or perhaps it’s because he only has 12 followers?

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Regardless, here’s what we can learn from the unliked photos of Instagram. Basically the don’ts of the Insty-world.

1. Don’t upload ugly food


Food is such a divisive thing to Instagram, even when it’s pretty. Some people think that it’s too functional to deserve immortal public documentation. So if you’re going to photograph it, unless it’s intentionally beautiful, make it interesting beyond the photo – describe what the food is, hashtag it unashamedly (if you’re uploading photos of food you’re already being that dick; own it) and whatever you do, avoid #nom at all costs. Nom means nothing apart from ‘name’ in French, or the acronym of the National Organisation for Marriage, an anti-gay marriage group from the States.

2. Don’t upload the mundane (unless you have something to say about it)


Cityscapes can be totally gorgeous, but look up a bit when you’re taking a photo (hold the phone down by your waist if needs be) – the whole point of looking at Instagram as we walk along (a scroll and stroll, if you like) is to avoid looking at the pavement. Even if whatever's above the street isn't that beautiful cobalt blue that does so well for likes, you can always add a filter in to make clouds look super moody and ambient. And buildings can be totally pretty, too.

3. Don’t brag


Everyone enjoys those pictures of rich kids smugging off about their rich kid lives, but photos of bling-adorned hands holding silvery-embellished niche booze does it for just about no-one. At the very least, be more self-aware and tag it #rkoi (Rich Kids Of Instagram). Everyone loves a humblebrag.

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4. Don’t take really crap photos


Though it’s really tempting to upload anything that’s made it on to your camera roll, just because you have a portable, instant camera on your person, doesn’t mean that your photos are going to be great. The first photo ever taken was a blurry shot of some stone walls taken from a window in Burgundy, France by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826, and people were rightfully intrigued by it. But almost 200 years on from the joy of the mundane, we need a little more pizzazz to get excited about an image.

5. Like for Like!

You’ve got to give to get, and it turns out that if you like a load of Instagram photos, you get likes in return. The best part of nolikesyet.com is that you get to like all of the photos that haven’t been liked yet.

As well as being removed from the web page, your like-ee gets notified and ping, you’ve made contact with someone from the other side of the world who takes ugly photos. Intrigued by this random liker, they’ll then go onto your account and do loads of likes. As depressing as nolikesyet.com might seem from the outside, this mutual appreciation is worth a gaze through all of Instagram's crappiest images.

Like this? You might also be interested in:

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Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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