Well, imitation is the highest form of flattery…
Recently, Instagram swooped in to steal the lime light from Snapchat, the [once] younger, more attractive social platform, by introducing Instagram Stories - an almost literal clone of Snapchat itself.
When I first caught wind of this new release from Instagram, I was kind of bummed. “Instagram is a place to share well curated, thoughtful images with my friends and community,” I thought to myself while stomping my foot and crossing my arms across my chest. But, after taking a step back and doing some self reflecting, I began to realize that Instagram, really, is reaching back to their own original roots with this new addition.
Let me ask, do you remember the early Instagram days? What was your very first Instagram post? Mine was a shitty shot of the In-n-Out that I was so eagerly about to consume, only to be enhanced by the Earlybird photo filter (UGH. This filter was so cool at the time). The point is, Instagram started as a place to share your everyday moments without a care in the world. Somewhere along the way, the pressure was put onto each of us to carefully choose the images we share and to never overshare because, God forbid, you lose a follower or three.
I jumped onto the train and went where it was taking each of us. I started planning out my Instagram posts, sharing only at optimal times for engagement and interaction…applying the same, consistent filter to each photo I shared, and using a combination of searchable and unique hashtags in order to gain additional likes without appearing to be spammy. This can quickly become exhausting, repetitive, and *cringe* BASIC. Which is the very reason that I believe Snapchat hit a home run when they entered the market.
Things I love about Snapchat:
I love Snapchat mostly because of its inherent simplicity. I follow a small number friends and influencers and can get through their days in a matter of minutes. I see what I want to see, when I want to see it, and don’t really worry about missing a beat. I understand that it’s a bit of a clunky experience, but personally, I appreciate the clunk. As a kid that comes from a place of building computers and writing my own games, the simplicity adds this human element to platform. I don’t feel like Snapchat is trying to sell me (even though they make bank from the Discover section and branded filters...so smart).
Things I’m learning to love about Instagram Stories:
I can appreciate what Instagram is aiming to do with Stories and kind of like the idea of blips of my friend’s lives being housed inside of the same app as my more permanent photo feed. There is some convenience in not having to open up two different applications to get a visual representation of what’s up in my social circle. I’m curious to see how Stories continues to evolve. The character masks/filters on Snapchat is a feature that makes Snapchat a playful ton of fun. With the recent purchase of MSQRD by Facebook, it will be interesting to see how Instagram incorporates kickass face filters to Stories.
One thing I will say about Instagram Stories is that I haven’t built my own Instagram account to support the purpose of Stories. I follow exponentially more people on Instagram than I do on Facebook and I don’t really care to see all of their stories. Filing through the bubbles at the top of my feed currently feels a bit like a chore. I wouldn’t mind seeing this interface evolve a bit more, allowing me to curate what I see and how I see it.
One thing is clear: the war is on and these two social kingdoms will battle for our attention. Who will win? Only time will tell.