Kylie Jenner’s baby announcement with over 18 million Instagram likes has been ousted as the world record holder for the most likes received on a picture. What holds the new record for the most liked Instagram post? An egg.
Even for the Point Loma Nazarene University students who helped make this world record happen, the question arises: why are millions of people so invested in a picture of an egg?
The photograph of the egg posted by @world_record_egg has received over 51.3 million likes since it was posted on Jan. 4, 2019. It gained popularity almost instantly and Instagram users rose to the challenge of setting the new record. But the interesting question users may not have asked themselves is “Why? Why did I like it?”
“Everyone else was liking it, so I thought, ‘might as well,’” says PLNU junior elementary education major, Vironica Blancas. This answer seems simple enough, but there is a deeper explanation for why people liked the photo, according to Rachael Horn Langford, a PLNU sociology and social psychology adjunct professor.
Just like Blancas, people tend to jump on the bandwagon. Horn Langford parallels the phenomenon of bandwagon-ing to conformity. Social creatures look to others to see how to act, especially in unclear situations. Instagram users may have been unclear as to why an egg was getting so much attention, so they looked to others to see what they should do. People were liking the post, so others followed, according to Horn Langford.
“Sociologists would say people behave in certain ways because of social structure,” says Horn Langford. The social structure feeds into the idea of “impression management,” which she describes as the way people manage their image to reach their idealized-self. This “ideal-self” pushes people to like the Instagram photo.
Liking the photo of the world record egg offers Instagram users social capital, “like who you know and who you’re related to; that increases your status,” according to Horn Langford.
Horn Langford says, “When we talk about likes, it’s a way to engage with other,” and because of this, there are two reasons why people may have liked the picture: “People want to be a part of something positive, and in general, we are social creatures.”
People long for the sense of community and have a fear of missing out, according to Horn Langford. But Instagram users may have been driven to double tap the egg to be what she calls, “part of a big something.”
@world_record_egg holds the new world record for the most likes on Instagram and the account did not beat the prior record because of the jaw-dropping effect of an egg. Through the longing for community and desire to be a part of something bigger, the Instagram users who double tapped the picture helped set a new world record of over 51.3 million likes.