Recently, Instagram launched a new feature on its site, which many people claim was copied from Snapchat. The new feature is called “Instagram Stories”, and in a way, it does mimic Snapchat quite closely. People who are loyal to Snapchat are calling it a waste of time, and don’t see the point in having an Instagram Story when they can just post a story on Snapchat instead. But was the creation of this feature really just to take Snapchat’s concept and turn it into Instagram’s own?
Yes, the feature does mimic the same concept, but that’s not all that it’s good for. One of the key factors of Instagram Stories is that you see each person that you are following’s story. Compared to Snapchat, most people are following hundreds of people on Instagram rather than just those who are in their contacts. While this fact doesn’t matter if no one is posting personal Instagram stories, it matters a lot in the business world. Before, businesses would struggle with the idea that posting too often on Instagram would drive people away (which, in most cases, they’d be correct). Now, whatever pictures that aren’t “Instagram worthy”, per say, can be posted on an Instagram Story, and still access thousands of followers with their post. Celebrities also tend to benefit from this new feature for similar reasons—they are able to access an audience much larger than that of Snapchat, which is great for publicity. To top it all off, as long as their profiles aren’t on private, people who aren’t even following businesses or celebrities can watch their Instagram Stories and learn a little more about whether or not they would like to follow them based on a story they post.
We’ve now established that Instagram Stories can be beneficial to businesses and celebrities, but what about the general public? Although many do see it as pointless given the fact that it is so similar to Snapchat, there are several differences that some people find worthwhile. For instance, Instagram Stories appear right at the top of the app as soon as you open it, so that it is out of the way, but not difficult to get to. Snapchat, on the other hand, has all stories on a separate page, making it somewhat inconvenient to view stories when first opening the app. Furthermore, you can hold the screen to pause a slideshow, or swipe left to go back a slide, as opposed to Snapchat, who does not allow the duration of a story to be paused or revisited unless you go back and click on the owner of the story’s name once more. There are also three different types of brushes for drawing, as well as custom made color palettes that are easier to choose from, unlike Snapchat that has only one brush and a difficult color palette. Finally, for all of the stalkers out there, Instagram does not let someone know when you screenshot their story, which I suppose can be decided whether or not that is a good or bad thing at the user’s discretion.