For years, Instagram has been the social channel where users post the highlights of their lives — those one or two perfectly filtered photos or that short, captivating video. But what about the goofy, funny moments in between?
Today, Instagram announced the launch of “Stories” — a new offering that appears to be the social network’s answer to Snapchat.
The new feature “lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile,” Instagram said in a blog post today. “As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.” Instagram Stories will roll out globally over the next few weeks.
There’s no denying that Stories looks and feels much like Snapchat. People can add text and drawing tools (like making your cat’s eyes shoot lasers) and the stories disappear after 24 hours. Stories won’t appear in your perfectly curated profile grid or in your feed. Instead you’ll see stories from people you follow in a bar at the top of your feed. You can view a person’s story by tapping on their profile photo.
“It’s easy to view stories at your own pace: tap to go back and forward or swipe to jump to another person’s story,” Instagram said. “If you want to comment on something you see, you can tap and send a private message to that person on Instagram Direct. Unlike regular posts, there are no likes or public comments.”
TechCrunch said that “since Instagram Stories appear at the top of the old feed, your followers will inevitably see them without you needing to build a new audience in a different app.”
TechCrunch also published a long list of the differences between Instagram Stories and Snapchat. Here are some highlights:
- Stories “are sorted by who you interact with most, not purely reverse chronological like Snapchat.”
- “Anyone you allow to follow you on Instagram can see your Instagram Stories, though you can also block people.”
- “You don’t have to be following someone to view their Instagram Stories” as long as they’re public.
- Perhaps the most important difference of them all: “You can’t see who screenshotted your Instagram Story, while Snapchat warns you.”
The Verge called Instagram Stories a “near-perfect copy of Snapchat stories” and said that it’s Instagram’s way of shedding the stereotype that it only features the most glamorous imagery. It’s also designed to get people to share more content.
“The Information reported in June that the average number of Instagram posts per user declined between 2013 and 2015. Meanwhile, consumption of video alone on Snapchat increased 25 percent between February and April, to 10 billion views a day, according to Bloomberg,” The Verge reported. “Given those trends, it’s easy to imagine why Instagram would want to encourage users to be less fussy about their posts.”
The New York Times said “the move could ignite a head-to-head battle between Instagram and Snapchat, which have long lurked in each other’s territories but have not faced off directly. Both are mobile apps that use primarily visual mediums. Both became popular first with young people. And both are now trying to improve their businesses by increasing digital advertising in formats like Stories.”