Okay, that headline was mildly misleading. Instagram has launched its very own Stories option (literally, as in, it’s actually called Stories) just like Snapchat, and in almost every way, it works and functions exactly like Snapchat. It’s so much like Snapchat, in fact, that it didn’t bother coming up with a new name for the feature, like something fun or cool like Narr8ives. (Feel free to steal that, Instagram.)
Yes, Instagram has come up with its own method for uploading lots of photos or videos in what is supposed to be a compelling story arc. But unlike Snapchat, it’s the users who don’t have a clue what it’s for. Let’s examine.
Snapchat started out as a sexting app. The company can argue all they want, but we all know that’s what happened. And even if you weren’t taking your clothes off for your BF while trying to make sure those pics didn’t end up floating around (like THAT’S never happened, with or without Snapchat), the underlying functionality was still there. It drew a distinct segment of tech users, meaning, those who were following the latest tech trends but at least had some semblance of concern for their privacy.
Instagram? It was all about vacation pics, pet pics, and food pics. You signed up to have a cool place to share your photos, you followed a few celebrity accounts after learning about some scandalous picture that North West supposedly shared (even though she wasn’t potty trained at the time, yet still knew how to go back through Mommy’s old photos and upload one), and you were in. Instagram was great for following the #dogsofinstagram, if you’re into that kind of thing.
But here’s where the Story war is happening: while almost every single aspect of both platforms’ stories is identical, right down to the snaps/pics disappearing in 24 hours, it’s the users who aren’t the same. Snapchat users by definition seem to be slightly more discerning about what they share; they came at Stories with the knowledge that it’s not one photo sent to one person that will disappear in seconds, so they have to be more careful with what they post in a Story. Instagram users are so used to flooding Facebook with filtered pics of the lasagna they just baked that their Stories are just mere photo albums, or compilations of more of the same.
The end result? Instagram users are going to wake up in the morning to find 300 of the people they follow have created stories about their kids’ Little League practice from the night before.
To correct it, the Facebook-owned company needs to pull a quick…well…Facebook, and create a dedicated app just for the Stories. Like Messenger or Memories, we can still experience only the most compelling Stories that we want to visit, or we can go to Instagram without having to see every single person’s slow-loading Story.