Why Do We Need Instagram Stories?

TL;DR - We Don’t

By Luke Kelly

Instagram has just launched a new feature called ‘Instagram Stories’. In a blatant ripoff from Snapchat, Instagram Stories adds the ability to create content that disappears after 24 hours.

You can you to draw over your images, add text, emojis and filters before you select who you want to see them. If all of that sounds familiar, that’s because it is.

The feature feels and acts exactly like a Snapchat clone, and that isn’t a good thing. It makes no sense to have two platforms that do the same thing, leaving aside the fact that Snapchat has monopolised that segment of the market for years. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom even admitted that Snapchat “deserves all the credit” for the format to TechCrunch.

The problem here is that the two apps serve very different purposes — Snapchat is the happy-go-lucky, frivolous app that doesn’t care about careful composition, stabilised video or long exposures. In other words, it’s disposable, and that’s part of its appeal.

The addition of Instagram Stories makes Instagram feel as though it’s trying to be all things to all people, and no app can do that.

Instagram, on the other hand, is real photography. Even your aunt who’s never heard of the rule of thirds is trying her best to express her inner Ansel Adams on Instagram. It’s carefully curated, and we choose who we follow based on beautiful images, not hilarious selfies.

The addition of Instagram Stories makes Instagram feel as though it’s trying to be all things to all people, and no app can do that. The reason for its initial success was because of its niche focus on beautiful, mobile-based photography.

It just feels like another decision that will leave users scratching their heads, wondering where this app is going. Just a few months ago, Instagram riled up their fanbase by changing their algorithm to promote posts that have more likes and engagement rather than displaying posts in chronological order. Instagram Stories appears to be yet another misstep for what was once a darling of the photography community, and I’m not even mentioning that logo.

Instagram has 300 million daily active users, twice as many as Snapchat. This appears to be an attempt to corner the market for people who don’t want to have to rebuild their following on yet another platform. Yet for the average user, this may be just another feature that will get in the way of the beautiful images Instagram purports to be all about.

Facebook failed in its bid to buy up Snapchat for US$3 Billion in 2013; now it’s attempting to turn Instagram into a newer, better version of it. Let’s just hope they don’t kill their darling in the process.

This article was written by Luke Kelly and was first published on DigitalRev. You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more photography stories.

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