Wednesday, 3 August 2016

instagram stories: good for the big guys, bad for the little guys


aah instagram. since you burst into my life six years ago, we have been on quite the journey. from the awkward selfies of 2010, to the more staged and filter edits of 2016, our relationship has been turbulent. Sometimes I hate you, as you remind me just how unattractive I am without your pesky little filters, but most of the time i love you, as you allow my creative side to flair out in a blur of colourful pictures and hilarious captions. we've grown up together...

but right now, i feel like you're going through your awkward teenage years. 

hello instagram stories, you were quite the surprise..




one of the most dramatic updates in instagram's history, the majority of social media geeks woke up this morning to a huge change in the social media platform. the introduction of instagram stories, which essentially allows users to upload live streams of their day into handy bite sized chunks, which then disappear after 24 hours... 

sounds awfully familiar doesn't it?

that's because it is pretty much IDENTICAL to the features of snapchat, except it currently doesn't allow you to stick a dog filter over your face or see what you'd look like if you were kylie jenner. but i'm in sure in time these features will come. 

so, initially - i wasn't into it. i figured that we all already have this platform to showcase the funnest parts of our days, and the wittiest parts of our personality. i felt like snapchat served as a funnier older brother in the social media world, giving glimpses into the fun stuff only, whilst instagram was the image conscious best friend, concerned with appearances and making sure you always looked good. crossing the two together didn't make any sense, and it just didn't sit well in my aged social media bones (i'm 23...)

but after the grand total of two hours, my mind started to change. i noticed that initially, most users were using the stories mechanic to comment on how 'shit' it was. but after a while, they started using it in the way they would use snapchat story. brands jumped onto the hype straight away, with notable mentions going to benefit cosmetics, innocent smoothies and next, who took to it like a duck to water, showcasing their social media teams and the offices - and then their product. 

i then used it on my own work instagram account (popcorn pr), and noticed that within half an hour each clip had over 70 views, from a mixture of influential followers such as bloggers, publications and celebrities. this was getting exciting...and then i realised my excitement was as a brand, not as a regular joe.

for brands, media publications, bloggers, celebs...this update is going to be a game changer. social media is all about video and visual content, something exciting that explodes from a timeline of photos people will be flicking through at the speed of light. blurry, bland, dark photos or *gulp* STOCK PHOTOS aren't good enough anymore. incorporating your sleek instagram feed with a fun live stream showcasing brand personality and exclusive insights ALL IN ONE PLACE is most definitely appealing to a consumer, meaning they can get all their information via that one app. also, whilst snapchat has been awesome over the past few years, i don't feel it's caught on for brands in the way it may have hoped. whilst there have been examples of great Snapchat work by brands, largely it's still a consumer channel for drunken selfies, lip-syncing videos, and putting filters over your face when you have a spot. brands instagram channels however, have MUCH larger followings, meaning their stories will be seen by pretty much all of that audience... and who's going to pass up higher engagement levels, huh?

but for the regular instagram user on the street, who just wants a pretty filter on their face and a platform to showcase their night out photos, this is going to seem pretty pointless. why on earth do they need two channels? why would they bother using one app when they can use the other? this, in turn, may lead to the demise of snapchat. snapchat's fundamental feature is its story, whereas instagram has a lot more to offer, one of these being it's owned by Facebook, the big kid on the block who takes no prisoners. users may start shifting to having all content in one place, not arsed with shifting between apps. having said that, snapchat still offers the option to send a snap to just one person, which may keep it alive. after all, people still gotta send their nudes somehow...

ultimately, us social kids don't like change, and this one threw us. i feel like we've come round to the idea, but it'll be interesting to see how it goes. next time instagram, can you sort out your algothrim first, and add a 'follows you' button before you spring this kinda thing on us?

oh, and add the dog filter. because that shit is gold.

until next time xo  
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