Thursday, August 4, 2016

Social Media: Will you embrace Instagram Stories?

Instagram's new 'stories' update has boldly incorporated the main ideas of Snapchat. Will Grammers and Snappers ignore Instagram stories, abandon Snapchat in favour of the update or give in and simply add it to an ever-expanding list of social media duties?

my first Instagram story
This update is particularly shrewd as Instagram has, until now, been a space reserved for slick images. The more professional your photo, the better. Over the years, Instagram users have created an app-specific aesthetic (bright and minimalist overhead shots) typified by the grain bowl-filled feeds of clean eating gurus Deliciously Ella and Madeleine Shaw. These best practice rules (which I outlined in a House & Garden piece) are difficult to follow consistently and do not suit the lazy.

Snapchat, where we feel permitted to post dodgy selfies, clumsy photos and shaky videos, has been filling that 'lazy' gap competently - just about. Its closed off framework requiring users to add friends rather than follow is a factor thats set it apart but also severely limits mass appeal. Anyone normal beyond their teenage years feels uncomfortable adding people as friends without knowing them in real life. (Perhaps we should be worried that following strangers is more acceptable than befriending them, but social media etiquette is another discussion entirely.)

Indeed, teenagers set up 'finstagrams' years ago. These private Instagram accounts where teens would post selfies and imperfect photos - deemed 'fake' as opposed to their primary 'real' accounts, which are public - may well be deleted now.

The stories of Insta-celebs, while very slightly shabbier, will almost certainly continue to give the impression that they lead perfect lives. But this update does give us all more freedom on Instagram. Being less picky about what to post is probably a good thing.

So, will the update succeed? Or be largely forgotten, like the direct messaging capability? Let's look at the pros and cons.

Instagram stories

  • Two in one. You don't have to open another app. Pokemon Go players need all the battery they can save.
  • Glowing neon pen. Check out the third writing option. It looks cool. The marker style is nice too.
  • More text allowed.
  • Hide your story from specific people. A bit like customising the privacy settings of a post on Facebook, which is always useful when your entire extended family are friends with you.
  • More views. This is the big one. My first Instastory has already been viewed by 40 people, and I don't even have 40 friends on Snapchat. Great for loners/misanthropes/anyone who isn't a teenager.
  • Can't choose the number of seconds, as far as I can see, unlike Snapchat.
  • Lack of clarity generally. It's fairly easy to add to your story by mistake.

  • Incumbency. We're already using it, many have only just become accustomed.
  • Filters. This is the big one. Many of us open Snapchat simply to check out the latest filters, with 'beautifying' modifications and new voice changers being particularly popular. 
  • Fewer views. Snapchat friends < Instagram followers.
Considering filter ideas can easily be stolen, it doesn't look good for Snapchat. However, extensive research conducted by me (a Twitter poll with 14 votes) shows that most intend to ignore the update.

You can't blame them. Bloggers and writers with social media profiles to maintain must already keep up with Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. Spending weeks or months getting used it, as Food Stories pointed out, means Snapchat may not be easily dumped. 

1 comment:

Kerstin Rodgers aka MsMarmiteLover said...

I'm feeling exhausted by it all. I feel like I'm wasting my creativity on multi platforms rather than keeping it for productive creativity like writing and cooking. But I have to do the social media stuff to get people to see what I do.