This is the story of a girl (Stories)
Who cried a river and drowned the whole world (Chat)
And while she looked so sad in photographs (Snapchat),
I absolutely love her when she smiles (Instagram)?
If only it was so simple. The million $ question? Are we making a song and dance about the brand new Instagram feature Stories? While the song lyrics are exactly that, song lyrics, the Instagram vs Snapchat saga continues to make a big splash in the tech news hour. The painter Picasso once said “Good artists copy, great artists steal”, the early signs appear to be that Instagram, without directly breaching copyright, may have just performed the heist of the century by not only imitating but in fact restructuring a visibly more resilient and user friendly model of the latest Snapchat trademark feature Chat 2.0. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, in a somewhat heated press interview, let his feelings be known in no uncertain terms when he said,
“This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”
For instance if you compare this case to the early days of mobile phones, imagine for the sake of argument that Nokia were the first to bring out ‘call waiting’ and the following year Blackberry launches a superior version of ‘call waiting’. Is that in fact any different? Instagram Stories is a new feature that lives at the top of your newsfeed and allows you to pop in a stream of photos that expire after 24 hours. Very alike Snapchat sure but significantly Instagram have made some fundamental improvements that over the coming weeks and months could very well put them out in front in the innovation stakes. Some may be of the opinion that Snapchat was not always exactly straightforward to follow, had holes in its system, a mildly confusing interface? A complicated swiping system difficult for the novice to grapple with. Instagram have taken the confusing landscape and turned it on its head, tweaked a series of improvements that make for an end product that is more responsive and intrinsically more enjoyable to use care of clearcut hints throughout of how to progress smartly and efficiently. In addition, there are also more options with the drawing tools on Instagram offering a selection of pre-set colours and neon-like special effects already making waves with long time users.
Instagram Stories boasts all the fancy drawing features made famous by Snapchat yet with less buttons and options to get in the way of actually sharing your photos Rapid photo sharing looks like the way forward without need to decipher any secret language of commands etc therefore the layman can likely master Stories in a very short time and it will be that accessibility that will hold them in good stead moving forward. Plus, to reduce any brain drain, clearly labelled buttons are plentiful within the Stories feature enabling a ready context for instant subject matter for the user to manipulate to his/her best advantage.
And the clincher Instagram Stories already has in place a vast network full hungry folk actively using the app to make friends, follow new people and journey to exotic locations. Snapchat does not yet own this sense of community and that could be a stumbling block? With no quick access, no signposts promoting mingling or directing traffic to meeting locations, the chatterbox Chat choices are few and far between unless individual user names are already in one’s possession? Instagram Stories has transcended such a barrier, the Stories users having interesting, artistic connections at their immediate disposal, the option to follow his or her story in the search to assemble the remaining pieces of the puzzle. A key differential, the element of surprise, always critical in a battle of smarts.
Last but not least, the bonus plus point, if you endeavour to use Stories for business purposes the world is your oyster as they say. Stories allows you to post photos or videos effortlessly over the course of a full day, disappearing after a 24-hour period, and quite aside from your regular collection of Instagram posts. Meaning you won’t have to worry about over-posting, everyone can share as much as they want over the course of a day without clogging valuable followers feeds. Naturally the Stories app creates the perfect opportunity to showcase products and product range educating customers in a novel and inclusive manner. Business owners will make their own distinction between content which is best suited to the urgency of Stories and that which endears itself to the permanence of the original, regular feed. Nevertheless the key focus remains to be on reaching your community audience through playful engagement and shared verbal or visual dialogue. When you look at the numbers you begin to see the potential for Stories to make leaps and bounds toward the last quarter of 2016. Simply put Instagram has 300 million daily active users compared to Snapchat’ 150 million. Instagram Stories; Welcome to the Dance.