After Facebook’s failed attempt to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion, the company has advanced another acquired property to become more like the rapidly growing ghost. In its latest update, Instagram introduces “Stories” to the app, which is a new feature that is essentially pulled right out of Snapchat. You can also edit your photos and videos with effects, scribbles and drawings – just like Snapchat.
Instagram positions the update as a way to avoid “overposting” by keeping all of your photos and videos into a single 24 hour story that is shared as a slideshow.
To view someone’s story, just tap on their profile photo. It’s easy to view stories at your own pace: tap to go back and forward or swipe to jump to another person’s story. If you want to comment on something you see, you can tap and send a private message to that person on Instagram Direct. Unlike regular posts, there are no likes or public comments.
Stories follow the same privacy settings as your account; however, you have the ability to hide stories from specific followers even if your account is private.
To me, Instagram Stories lean further away from the photography-centric nature of Instagram and more toward the social aspect of the app. Instagram is after engagement because engagement means dollars and, as a Facebook property, that is the core mission of the app now – make money.
I’ll be curious to see where photographers come down on this feature and Instagram going forward. I know that I’ve been using it less on a personal basis over the last few weeks – particularly since the new feed algorithm was introduced. My personal opinion of the the Stories feature is a miss for me; however, I know that I use the app as a more pure photography experience than many of my friends. I can definitely see where Instagram is coming from. Keeping active daily users is one of the most important metrics for an app and this will surely up those numbers for casual social media users.
What do you guys think of Instagram Stories?