Instagram and Snapchat – A Story About Two Stories

If Facebook is playing up your alley, it means you are doing something right. That should mean good for the owners of snapchat as Facebook owned Instagram recently staggered into what used to be known only as Snapchat territory.

Don't we all?
Don’t we all?

Instagram announced its stories on the second of this month. A new way for users to share content about themselves. From the creators of Instagram to happy and disgruntled users, the reactions are a pot pourri of emotions from enthusiasm to disappointment. Instagram CEO, Kevin Systrom, makes no effort to disagree, he surprisingly admits that snapchat deserves all the credit.

It was not always like this, maybe not supposed to ever be like this, but a fickle audience has made two initially distinct products converge and lock horns. Snapchat set out as a platform for users to share original content with great control on privacy. Users could be goofy, crazy, and weird; they could be themselves. Instagram was different; Instagram made its way to the hands of users when smartphones started taking beautiful pictures and people wanted to share those pictures with their friends – the best and only the best pictures, thereby making Instagramming a form of art.

A few years down the line, acquisitions and failed acquisitions and the launch of Instagram stories quickly followed that of SnapStory. Instagram stories allows users post 24 hour ephemeral photos and video slideshows that disappear. The stories don’t add to your feed, meaning that your feed is still clean and artsy like it used to be, instead they appear on top of your followers’ feeds, making sure that they get to see them.

This is not the first time that Instagram is accused of playing into snapchat territory as you would recall that Instagram Direct Messaging was said to be modelled after snapchat. Instagram has succeeded in making itself another snapchat – only bigger.

Instagram StoriesOn a deeper level, it was essential for Instagram to make this moves in a frantic bid to boost sharing frequency which is a lot harder as people only want to share their most polished photos. Stories creates a place for content that users want to share but is deemed not good enough for the feed.

This is a simple case of refraining from reinventing the wheel. Facebook has tried in the past to copy snapchat with apps like, Slingshot and Poke, they all failed and were removed from the stores.

How Does Instagram Stories Work?

For one it’s pretty similar to Snapchat stories save for a few differences here and there.

The stories last 24 hours after which they disappear.

Users can shoot videos in the app or upload from the last 24 hour of camera roll – way to keep things fresh!

Users can decorate their photos with drawings, text, emojis and colour filters.

Followers can tap stories on top of their feeds to view them, as stories are not pushed into the feeds.

Viewers can swipe up to reply to stories and these replies are delivered by Instagram direct messages.

Users can see who has viewed their stories.

Wait, this is just snapchat all over again!!!

Instagram stories appear in a row above the feed instead of on a separate screen like snapchat.

Instagram stories are sorted out based on who you interact with more, instead of reverse chronological order like snapchat.

Any of your followers on Instagram get to see your Instagram Stories, although you can block people, unlike snapchat that allows you build a list.

To view your stories, people do not have to follow you as it can be viewed from your profile if it is public.

You can swipe right or tap the stories icon to open the stories unlike snapchat which defaults to the camera.

Users can hold the screen to pause unlike snapchat which is continuously progressing.

With these and other differences it is clear what CEO Kevin Systrom meant when he insists that, “it does not always have to be about who invented what but about a format, how you take it to a platform, and make it work on that platform.”

Doctor, Designer, Tech Lover, Writer, Futurist, Dreamer.

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