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Anti-Social: Instagram Stories

5th August 2016 | Paige Ardrey

Each week our anti-social bloggers will be bringing you the latest quarrels from our Social Team, debating for and against the newest social updates hot off the digital press.

If you've yet to be reach by the drama emanating from social media circles this week, you needn’t worry. When it comes to serious social shade our team have their ears to the ground.

Last week Instagram launched a new feature called ‘Stories’. This new update allows users to upload multiple photos and videos in a slideshow format that lasts for just 24-hours before disappearing forever. Sound familiar? That’s probably because it is very similar, identical even, to Snapchat’s 24-hour slideshow function also named Stories.

The similarity between Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories hasn’t gone down well with the people of the Internet, some of whom are calling Instagram ‘copycats’ – ouch.

Unsure which side to take? Not to worry. Paige and Sarah are here to fight for and against Instagram Stories. A traditionalist by nature, Sarah is Team Snapchat. Paige however is a renegade and backs Instagram.

SW: I mean, really Instagram? Really?

PA: Calm down.

SW: I’m plenty calm. Honestly though aside from any of the digital implications of this update, isn’t this just terrible press for Instagram? I can only imagine that there are droves of diehard Snapchat users ready to leave Instagram or at the very least boycott their version of Stories long term. People have already been using Instagram Stories primarily to display their Snapchat usernames. I for one won’t be using it.

PA: But it’s a good feature. I think the main reason people are angry about the update is because it looks as though Instagram stole something that inherently belonged to Snapchat, but that isn’t the case. Live streaming, which is what Stories essentially is, has been brought into various social channels in a gradual but steady increase for years now and this is the next step. Stories isn’t a Snapchat branded concept, it’s the way digital and technology is moving. No one platform owns it.

SW: Okay, to be fair, I can see where you’re coming from with that. Pokémon Go is a good example of how VR is being used successfully in social and online gaming, but as other apps and games begin to use this format they won’t be called copycats, they’ll be called forward thinking or reactive for embracing the latest tech.

PA: So you accept that’s what Instagram have done?

SW: Argh, okay yes. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that moving in this direction is what is right for the users or brands using that platform. Just as Snapchat Memories has reversed the live, rough-cut style of Snapchat content, so will Instagram Stories affect the curated content brands and users have come to expect on that channel. Basically Instagram and Snapchat have become the same channel over the course of a month.

PA: Yet they still have very different audiences, and I don’t think that’s set to change. The demographics engaged on these channels will always be where the value lies for brands. Instagram Stories has made stories more accessible for those who didn’t feel included by Snapchat, perhaps due to their purposefully difficult to conquer UX design.

SW: I swear that is designed to keep the old and the uncool at bay.

PA: And Snapchat still have a more personal feel thanks in no small part to increased privacy. Stories on Instagram are viewable by anyone whereas on Snapchat you have to be someone’s friend which usually requires a phone number; a great thing for their younger user base.

SW: I suppose I’m just angry that I now have to see Story updates from everyone I purposefully don’t follow on Snapchat.

PA: Here, these shady Tweets from Snapchat employees will cheer you up.

SW: Thank you :’)