Instagram Stories confuses me. And I don’t like it.
A couple of days ago Instagram dropped an update called Instagram Stories into the app. It caused a bit of an online storm because, well because I don’t think anyone was expecting it. I certainly wasn’t.
One of the other reasons that it caused a storm is the fact that it is extremely similar to Snapchat‘s model. So close in fact, that many people are calling it #Snapstagram.
And at the end of the day, I don’t think the team at Snapchat are going to be that surprised. The model has proven to be too successful for someone else not to try and replicate it. Looking at the demographics you can see older people are picking up the on Snapchat, so it makes sense for Instagram to try and defend it’s position with those demographics.
I think, then, we can all agree that it was probably the logical thing for Facebook and Instagram to do. But it has annoyed a lot of people. And again, I can understand why it might.
When you’ve got a company like Facebook taking a functionality and basically copy and pasting it into one of their platforms, well it just doesn’t seem right. It feels like the big guy bullying the little guy. Even though Snapchat has a market valuation of $20b.
For a lot of people it’s just annoyed them that Facebook would pull what they deem to be a ‘dick move’. And to a large degree I have sympathy with that viewpoint. I mean, if you’re going to copy something, at least try and make it your own. In Instagram Stories, it doesn’t feel that they’ve made any effort to do so. At all.
But that’s not the only reason I don’t like it. For me it’s the design of the thing. Now when you open Instagram this is what you see.
Your Story is first, followed by the stories of others. But it’s sitting on top of your regular feed. Like the skin on cold soup. It’s just sitting there staring at you. The swipe functionality is intuitive, we’re all used to the side swipe idea at this stage, but again that’s not it. It’s the fact that it’s at the top of the feed. Like this is what they want the core functionality of Instagram to be.
So which is it Instagram? Do you want longevity of content or do you want ephemeral content? Do you want us to use Instagram like Snapchat more, or is it supposed to be just a nice add on to gather more followers and have more interactions?
My problem is that it confuses me, and I’m supposing if it confuses me, it’ll confuse others too. This is not the kind of thing that I use Instagram for. My Instagram feed (shameless plug alert) is used to show off the photos I take as an amateur photographer. A not very good one judging by the interactions I get. But I don’t use it for selfies etc.
So I probably won’t use the Stories function alot. But there it is, a bandaid sitting on top of my feed. And I don’t know if that means that I’ll get less interactions on my photos (along with the decrease I’m experiencing since the algorithm went live).
That’s not to say that I think it won’t be a success. The factors on it’s side are too great. Like Instagram have a proven ad ops side and clear reporting of results etc. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t getting in the way of my Instagram experience. I’ve noticed it myself that I’m going into the app, seeing the Stories feed and exiting without scrolling through either feed.
I have no problem with the fact that Instagram have copied Snapchat. But I’m just not sure what it is that Instagram now wants me to do. And that is what annoys me about #Snapstagram.