Instagram Likes Do Not Determine Popularity, According To Research


It’s a simple fact of girl world: the more likes you get, the more popular you are. Whether it’s a cute Insta, a witty Tweet, or a short and sweet Facebook status, the standard of validation for how loved you are is how many people click the like button. Except now researchers are attempting to ruin our entire belief system with science.

A professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University, Robin Dunbar, conducted a study on friendship and social media. According to E!, “basically he was asking if more Instagram likes equal more humans liking you in the real world.” The answer: a big fat no.

Dunbar found that the majority of your (and mine and everyone’s) social media followers are “ghosts,” meaning that their like for you only exists in the online world. Even worse? He found that the number of friends/followers we have on social media does not equate to actually having friends in real life.

According to E!:

“In the sample group, Dunbar found that the average number of Facebook friends was 150. When asked how many of those friends would be called “genuine” by the user, the average answer was 27 percent.

But when asked how many Facebook friends would be around for an emotional crisis, the number was much lower: four. Just four people out of 150. However, around 14 on average would “express sympathy” during the crisis.

Translation: Very few people would do more than just “like” your status about suddenly losing your job.”

Of course, one could counter this research with the fact that there are people out there whose online popularity is so real they actually make a living off of it (*cough* Instagram models *cough*). But then again, I’m not sure anyone other than horny dudes would show up to assist Jen Selter in a time of actual crisis.

Either way, I guess the point Dunbar’s research is that maybe we need to readjust our standards. Popularity isn’t how many people liked that pic from your birthday, it’s how many people showed up to celebrate with you.

[via E!]

Image via Shutterstock

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Jenna Crowley

Jenna used to be known as 2NOTBrokeGirls, but then one of the girls actually went broke, so she's struck out on her own. Jenna spends her free time saving the world, one sorority girl at a time (usually while wearing yoga pants), questioning why she decided to get a doctorate, and documenting her love of all things cheese related. You can ask her anything you want about football, using your boobs to get what you want, and pizza at @JennaLCrowley on Twitter or via email at

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