Instagram announced the release of a new feature which is deemed to be the solution to “overposting.”
The new feature which will be known as Instagram stories will offer users the chance to share various videos and photos daily with their followers. The feature comes with an option to add text and drawing tools, and will disappear after 24 hours.
In 2013, Facebook tried a $3 billion takeover of Snapchat, but the 26-year-old founder and CEO Evan Spiegel rebuffed the acquisition offer. Since then, its valuation has escalated to $19 billion according to private funding rounds. It seems that the young generation has increasingly gravitated to the secretive nature of disappearing videos and photos, and Instagram doesn’t want to be left behind.
It appears that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is starting to take its stab at Snapchat. Their new feature, Instagram stories bears a resemblance to Snapchat stories, a feature they introduced in 2013. The move by Instagram to poach the stories feature is expected to ignite a battle between these two social giants who have secretly lurked each other’s territory without bringing the face off into the limelight.
Both apps are mobile based and concentrate primarily on visual media. Both apps popularity stems from the young people and each and every day; they are devising new means of improving the interaction among their users.
In this “new” feature which is currently present in the Instagram update, you will see circular avatars on the top of your feed. Once you tap on anyone profile picture, you’ll be taken to that person’s story. The story will feature a series of photos and videos augmented with texts, stickers, and drawings. You can’t comment or like someone’s story, the only possible means to appreciate the story is by sending a direct message.
It has been stressed enough that the feature is a perfect carbon copy of Snapchat. This is not media hype because even Instagram representatives have openly acknowledged the similarities. When Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom was interviewed about Instagram stories, he agreed that the idea was from someone else but obliquely failed to mention their name and kept referring to them as the “competitors.” He acknowledged that other companies deserved the credit of popularizing disappearing photos and videos but confirmed that this had been an area of interest for Instagram for some time.
“It has been our mission to help our users capture and share their daily epic moments and not only the world’s beautiful moment,” he said. He added that this was a brilliant chance to alleviate tons of pressure and stress piled on people when trying to post their best stuff. The CEO further argued that the matter wasn’t about the invention but is more about the format and the way you tailor it to a network and put a personal touch on it.
Check out SnapChats filters if you havent seen them yet!
The move by Instagram is seen as a gambit by Zuckerberg as he tries to grapple with the rise of Snapchat which is estimated to have more than 150 million users. Despite recent survey which indicates that Instagram has surpassed the 500 million mark in its monthly active users, reports have shown a decline in its usage recently. The move to have Snapchat’s Stories feature has been seen as a desperate move by Instagram to try and match the ever expanding Snapchat’s popularity among the youths.
Different experts have differing opinions regarding the matter. A mobile analyst at eMarketer by the name Cathy Boyle feels that Instagram’s move is a validation of what Snapchat is doing. She affirms that marketers and advertisers are finding Snapchat more attractive since it offers the chance for you to connect with the users in a very personal way.
The question that is lingering in many people’s mind is whether it is morally or socially correct for a social network to use someone else’s innovation for their personal gain. It seems that this is not the first time, and I doubt it would be the last. A few months ago, Twitter unveiled Snapchat-like stickers. Before that, Snapchat was the villain having added photo storage similar to that of Instagram. Before buying Instagram for a billion dollars, Facebook tried to rip of Instagram with an app known as the Facebook camera, but sooner than later, they had a change of heart and decided to acquire it.
Social networks are bloated beyond recognition. They are suffering from sameness. This is becoming detrimental to smaller companies which are in left in significant uncertainty in the ecosystem. Whether it is right or wrong to be copycats, it is up to enterprises to focus on spurring creativity and bring in new innovative ideas. In the meantime, Instagram account holders should have fun with the new feature without caring where it came from.