This morning I walked into the main room of the office, eyes transfixed on my phone as my mind tried to develop an opinion on the Gram’s newest update. Instagram 9.0.1 has 2 out of 5 stars on iTunes. Possibly because it’s so glitchy. Possibly because Melania Trump’s speech writer
wrote stole the code for it. We may never know.
Regardless, I was eager to hear my coworkers’ opinions on it and dearest Brooke quickly became the pre-selected moderator between Allison’s formed opinions and my own skeptical analysis of the situation. This is a very shortened and composed version of how it went down.*
What do you like or dislike about Instagram Stories update?
Allison: When I first heard about this change, I have to admit that I did a bit of eye rolling. Afterall, it seems a bit like the social media giant taking over the little guy, yet again. Then, I started to think about the benefit. It’s difficult to keep up with multiple social media channels on a good day, so having the features of Instagram and Snapchat merged together into one channel is extremely appealing.
However, I am not a fan of the change in appearance to the main Instagram page. I am very distracted by the circles that are featuring the most recent ‘stories’ that are posted by those that I am following on Instagram. Though, that may change as I get used to the feature.
Josh: So my initial reaction was actually positive, unlike Allison I don’t mind the look or flow – or even the aspect that Instagram is cloning Snapchat’s essence. I’m also used to having a larger social-media audience than Snapchat naturally has, so Instagram just solved that right? Right, but now I actually have a larger issue.
I have 1k followers on Instagram, and I actually just don’t want to put anything other than my best foot forward to most of those people. The story of my life is me trying to have my cake and eat it too, but I prefer to stuff my face in the privacy of Snapchat. At least there, I know that regardless of what I post, the only people who are going to see it are my closest of friends and family who I talk to on a regular basis anyway.
As much as I love my friends’ friends, parents’ friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and the mentors who I don’t mind following me on Instagram, I wouldn’t add them on Snapchat. The idea of posting the mundane, random, and unfiltered alleys of my life to just anyone who decides to follow me, despite having the ability to individually block users from viewing them, doesn’t settle well with me.
Allison: In my opinion, Instagram Stories is a viable option for businesses but I can see the value for individuals continuing to use Snapchat. I think that it is possible for both to co-exist and serve different purposes.
How will Instagram Stories affect or be affected by Snapchat?
Josh: I feel like this could go in several directions. The classic scenario is that social-media giant Facebook taking over and replacing yet another networking soap-box by throwing its money and user-base around like a
DNC CFO playground bully.
Facebook has a pretty good track record of doing this, or at least attempting to. Remember Myspace, Twitter Hashtags, Vines, Twitter’s Periscope Live videos, and Facebook’s purchase of Instagram? You also may remember Facebook offered Snapchat $3 million a few years ago before making the late-copycat failure known as Slingshot.
Facebook is slowly becoming the unwanted, filtered internet for the internet. And this is where I think that Snapchat still has a chance. The 150 million user-base on Snapchat is a pretty concentrated crowd of mostly iGens and millennials, such as myself who don’t like bullies, super-powers, annoying ads, intrusive businesses, or distant relatives mixing with what we want to share between our closest circles.
Allison: I think that unfortunately, this change will be the start of Snapchat’s decline, much like Periscope with the subsequent dawn of Facebook live. Once Facebook live offered their alternative to Periscope’s live streaming service, it seems as if very few people continued using that platform.
For me, the fact that there is one less channel to try to gain followers on, and figure out the different algorithms, is extremely appealing. I was actually recently told that I needed to have Snapchat for my travel blog and I felt an immediate sense of dread as I thought about learning this new platform. So, for me personally and as someone who touches many different social media channels during the course of the week, the new feature will absolutely eliminate the need for Snapchat in my life. It should be noted, though, that I don’t use social media for personal purposes beyond my Facebook account.
Josh: It is another app, but they touch such different purposes and serve very different audiences that honestly it makes sense to me that they are separated. What I would like to see happen (and what very well could happen) is that instead of Snapchat dying, or everything staying the same, Snapchat could continue to grow!
Millions and millions of people don’t use Snapchat perhaps because of its young history or their presuppositions of its purpose, features, and culture. Once they try Instagram’s Stories, they may be more likely to follow the strong opinions of devoted Snapchatting friends who would inform them of many other features the original, non-copycat version has.
How do you think the audience will differ between the two?
Allison: I think that the ‘younger’ crowd will stick with the original format of Snapchat. However, I think that those who may be slightly reluctant to jump into yet another social media channel, will welcome the Instagram change. Personally I like the idea, just a few months ago I was slow to embrace the ‘original Instagram.’ As much as I hate to admit, I didn’t really see the value in the platform. Now, many brands are really doing Instagram well and growing as a result.
Josh: I agree with you that the younger crowd will be less likely to switch for the sake of convenience. In a similar fashion to how Facebook lost a hunk of its younger crowd to Instagram, we have seen a migration of Instagram’s youth to Snapchat post FB’s purchase. As Snapchat gets more and more greedy over time though, I have no doubt that it too will start to lose the migrators– just not to Instagram.
How should business react to Instagram Stories?
Allison: Instagram Stories won’t be right for every type of business, but I do think that it is an interesting avenue to pursue. I would suggest that if businesses are already using Instagram to keep the regular pictures the same and add more personality to your brand by adding in a story or two. Keep in mind that even if you don’t love the story that was posted, they only stick around for 24 hours. Being able to adapt and grow as a business as changes take place in social media and beyond is an extremely valuable asset.
Josh: Look, since the dawn of the internet, businesses have always had a terribly taxing experience trying to catch early-adopters online. By the time a social platform is mainstream enough for a company to care about devoting time to being relevant on it, the platform is too old or popular for the crowd they were trying to target. They are instead left with the same people that they are engaging with on fifteen other platforms.
If you feel like this is a problem your company has faced, then Instagram Stories is a fantastic way to jump in just as the party is poppin’. There are literally millions of people who are trying Snapchat-like UI for the first time through Instagram and millions of them are going to LOVE it. You’ve already got your following, and there are hundreds of millions of people already there having a good time. Give it a try and let us know how it goes in the comments below.
*It didn’t “go down” like this at all in real life, but we hope you enjoyed it all the same.