Stories

Words 3 Aug 16

So Instagram blatantly stole Snapchats best feature, the stories feature. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and my conclusion is that good artists copy, great artists steal. Maybe.

I’ve been a fan of Snapchat since its early days. I read an article that justified its existence in a very simple way. It’s freedom. Almost every social network retains the content you create on it apart from Snapchat. Everything is archived for that day later in life when you or someone else needs it. Now that’s handy but it also means you can’t relax and you can only post the absolutely best things ever. Not with Snapchat. With Snapchat you can post anything and it’s gone a day later. You are free to be silly and stupid. That’s why it’s such a big hit with younger people and confusing for older types. We have to get back into a mindset of being able to enjoy the freedom of being silly. That’s Snapchats key feature and I love it for that. Confusing UI, sure. Annoying content from media you detest, yeah. But an ability to be silly without worry? Amazing.

Instagram just launched the same feature but without silly faces. I instantly thought it was a stupid copycat idea and things like that make me not want to use the feature. It could be amazing but I’ve already got the feature in Snapchat. I don’t need it on Instagram and I don’t like copycats. I’m just going to stick with Snapchat… maybe.

I woke up to see some people I follow using the feature. Mostly just to experiment. NASA was all over it. But they’re also on Snapchat where they’ve been doing the same thing for a while. So do they have social media people holding up two iPhones recording to both networks in an “organic” off the cuff way? They’ve built up two audiences on both networks. Which do they keep? That’s got to be awkward.

People using the feature on Instagram did make me wonder about whether I will use it or not. Should I stay loyal to the people who first created it? I don’t have much of an audience on Snapchat and it is insanely hard to build unless you have a big audience elsewhere. So in Instagram’s favour I already have an audience there but not one I want to shout “Follow me on Snapchat” as it feels pushy. With Instagram I can simply tap into my audience there and bin trying to grow it on Snapchat.

Over time my Instagram usage has gone from whatever iPhone photos to the best photos I can publish. So in a way the stories feature brings back that which made me use Instagram to start with. I kind of like that it’s two sides of a coin. The polished best photos are right there for you to see but if you want to see behind the curtain you can. I do like that.

Instagram also fixes the key issue I have with Snapchat and that is seeing media outlets on the stories page. It’s a simple thing but it annoys me greatly. It’s this thing.

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I really really can’t stand seeing that. I don’t want those thoughts pushed into my head. Who cares about those stories? I don’t and I shouldn’t have to put up with it. Choosing Instagram over Snapchat resolves that issue.

Snapchat’s last key strength is that it never shows you likes or shares or any social media score. There’s no competition and no feeling of “No-one is seeing this.” It’s incredibly liberating. Instagram would be good to keep that idea too.

So let’s see where we are.

Snapchat

  • Did it first
  • Keeps being silly to one network
  • Has annoying media pushed on you
  • Confusing interface
  • Fun ghost
  • No scores

Instagram

  • Audience already there
  • Nice interface
  • No annoying media

I can certainly imagine people I know using Instagram Stories over Snapchat. It’s been hard to build an audience on Snapchat. I don’t know if I will continue or not really. Thing is though. The two apps to provide a different audience to try and tap into. Instagram is a better fit for me professionally. But for that reason will I feel as relaxed and be silly on it like I would on Snapchat?