No matter what social media platform you’re on, there is always competition to try to gain as many users as possible. We’ve seen it everywhere from YouTube, Periscope, Twitter and now Instagram, as they have started to roll out a new feature that is pretty much the exact core functions of Snapchat. Instagram is calling it “Stories”
Instagram’s Stories, just like Snapchat’s stories are images and videos posted that can only be viewed for 24 hours. After the 24 hours is up, the image or video is instantly deleted. When Snapchat first introduced the feature in 2013, it made their user growth expand tremendously, and focused users on posting about what is going on in their personal daily lives more often. With Instagram including the same option, it could change how it’s 300 million users use the app.
When looking at how Instagram’s Stories feature is implemented, there is a row of circular icons that is located at the top of the user’s feed. As you guessed it, each icon represents an account that the user follows, and that circle contains all the 10-second videos and pictures that they have posted to their story for 24 hours. The circles are shown via the same algorithmic system that will attempt to show the users favorite accounts up top. When the user taps the circle it will open in full screen, which is a nice touch. There is one thing that differs from Snapchat, and it is the fact that users can tap on the left-hand slide that will go backward to an earlier post.
Instagram’s core functions such as liking pictures and commenting on them are not included in Stories. However, just like on Snapchat you can reply to the picture or video that is in the story via a message that is in the Direct Message box. Again just like Snapchat, swiping up will allow the user to see who all has viewed their story. The option to block individual users from viewing the story is also included. It is important to note that unlike Snapchat if your Instagram account is public, everyone will be able to view your story. What’s even more interesting is you can view other people’s stories even if you’re not following them by just clicking on their profile picture. For those who have a private account, your story can only be seen by those who you approve. There also is an option for sharing a post on your story directly to your Instagram feed by swiping up and tapping the share button.
Now that the basics of what Stories is, how does one actually use it? Well, to add something to your story you tap on the ‘+” icon that is located at the top left corner of the screen. When you have taken a picture or video, you are greeted with an option to post text and resize it, as well as three drawing tools. You’ll have a normal pen, a highlighter, and even a neon pen. And what’s not a great picture editor without filters? There are several to choose from but unlike when posting a picture to Instagram itself, the filters aren’t named. All of these are included in Snapchat. But what isn’t is the geofilters, face filters, time stamps, weather and speed gauges. Instagram made no comment as to which ones could be coming, but Since it’s parent company Facebook recently acquired the Snapchat filter competitor MSQRD, we could see that coming soon.
Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom said in a recent interview to The Hollywood Reporter “There are a lot of people that don’t use Snapchat yet around the world … We have over 500 million people using Instagram every month, 300 million dailies, and more than 80 percent [of them are] outside of the US. I think there’s a giant market for moments like this, and I think Instagram can be one of the first to bring it to them.”
Instagram has been one of the most prominent social media platforms to date. What has made Instagram slow down in popularity is how much users post to their account. While some users post pictures every day, some may only post pictures weekly, monthly or even once several months if not years or at all. What makes Snapchat different is most of their users post several images and videos per day, giving the user more interaction with its audience. That right there is what Instagram is aiming for, and they might have hit the spot, if they execute it differently than what Snapchat already does, even though at this point, it may be hard.
What do you think about Instagram’s not-so-new Snapchat feature? Let us know in the comments below or on any of our social media pages. We’d love to hear your take on this topic.