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Editorial July 19th 2019

Welcome to this week’s editorial, Yesterday, much to the horror of many we learnt that Instagram is now hiding the number of 'likes' on posts for all Australian users

Ange McCormack of Triple J Hack reported “This idea of 'likes' being a source of anxiety for young people fits in with a growing body of research about Instagram's effects on mental wellbeing.

Two years ago, a UK study of people aged 14 - 24 found that Instagram was the worst social media platform for young people's mental health”

While you will be able to see how many people liked your selfie or food post others won’t which will have a considerable influence on the “influencers” who use the number of likes on their photos along with the number of followers they have to market themselves for gifts, jobs and contras.

Removing ‘Likes’ from Instagram is possibly just the start of renewing self esteem in out young. It will remove the popularity contest that appears to reward those with the most Likes. Teachers endorse the idea, mental health workers agree with the move and the majority of Instagram users appear OK with it as well as it removes the sense of ‘competition’ with winners and losers.

With such a proactive move it is therefore surprising to see the latest round of mycommunity projects being decided by Votes (or Likes) with the projects having the most Likes named the winner.

Bega electorate has an allocation of $260,000 to go to the highest voted projects spread from Eden to Batemans Bay. The ‘contest’ pits a one terrific community project against another. Winners will be depending on the popularity of the entry and the size of their network to attract votes. What hope is there for shade sails over a Moruya playground suggested by Moruya Rotary who have 399 who like their Facebook page when pitted against the pester power of 250 kids who attend St Mary's Primary in Moruya lobbying for “Swimming lessons for all our students!” to the value of $37,500 Throw into the mix the Mogo Disabled and Elderly Accessible Bathroom Facility valued at $94,000 going up against the Moruya Jockey Club (MJC) Accessibility Project 2019 valued a $44,000.

On Page 4 of this week's Beagle Weekender we list only those projects in the Eurobodalla however there are also many worthy projects in the Bega shire that are all contesting for the same $260,000 bucket and no doubt using all their network skills to gain votes with via media and social media.

At the end of the day the winners will be the ones who are the biggest, loudest, most marketing adept leaving the others with less friends, with less followers, to wonder what happened to the old way where a panel of citizens weighed up the net benefit to a community based on the contribution of the project to the best return.

The use of to Most Likes goes against the grain as it can be manipulated by smart marketing. The next hurdle if you want to vote is divulging your Medicare number and address to the voting website at a time when we are all warned to be extremely cautious of doing precisely that. Until next Lei

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