Instagram and Snapchat are both known for being image-focused apps that are popular for completely different reasons. It’s been noted that Instagram is where you showcase your heavily edited pictures, while Snapchat is best for a more real, in-the-moment experience, thanks to images that disappear in a day. But lately, the line between the two apps has started to blur. First, Snapchat released Memories, making it easy to share saved photos. And then earlier this week, Instagram launched its Stories feature, which is very similar to the Snapchat Story concept. What can you expect from this feature, and why did Instagram decide to release it? Here’s what you should know.
If you’re familiar with stories on Snapchat, then you can already see the point of Instagram Stories. Basically, it’s a way to share a series of pictures or videos that disappear in 24 hours. Just like on Snapchat, you can save your photos if you want to hang on to them for more than a day. You can also add them to your Instagram page like you’ve been doing with any other photo for years.
And in true Instagram – and Snapchat – fashion, you can edit your images with filters before adding them as stories. These filters allow you to change the colors in the image, add and resize text, and draw on your pictures in your choice of colors. Currently, none of the filters can add a puppy dog face, crazy hat, temperature, or time stamp to your image, but Instagram may be adding these features eventually.
Another benefit of Instagram Stories is that you can choose to make your pictures private or public. You can even choose which viewers get to see the pictures you post before they disappear in a day. And just as on Snapchat, you can see who has looked at your pictures by simply swiping down on each photo, which should help you decide which privacy settings to use.
It’s no secret that Snapchat is amazingly popular with the younger crowd, which is probably why Facebook tried to buy the company in the past. Once its offers were rejected, Facebook attempted to create services that were similar to Snapchat, but they never really caught on with the public. So now that Facebook owns Instagram, it’s taken a new tactic by creating the Stories feature for the app.
And the people behind this new feature are not even trying to hide the fact that it’s very Snapchat-like. When TechCrunch interviewed Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, he gave all the credit to Snapchat, saying “Don’t you think that Snapchat’s done a really awesome job? And Facebook’s done a great job. And Instagram’s done a great job. I think all of these companies have done a great job.” He also pointed out, “I think what you see is that every company looks around and adopts the best of the best formats or state-of-the-art technology.”
So the people behind Instagram Stories are not exactly in denial about the feature’s similarity to Snapchat. They saw how popular Snapchat is among millennials and generation Z, and they figured out that one of the reasons for this is the temporary nature of the images posted on the app. Not everyone wants the pressure of pictures that stick around forever, making disappearing pictures pretty appealing, especially to younger users taking tons of photos every day.
And some even claim that the new feature is better than Snapchat in some ways, namely because it’s easier to use. According to The Next Web, Instagram’s Stories feature is a lot easier to catch on to than Snapchat, which may make it more attractive to the app’s older users. Apparently, there are more user hints throughout the app, along with fewer buttons, and the ones that are there are labeled. So there are fewer swipes required and far fewer decisions to make before sharing your image for the next 24 hours.
Do you plan to check out Instagram Stories? Once you do, let us know how it compares to the Snapchat Story concept!