WhatsApp & Facebook Messenger, Tinder & Bumble, Strava & Map My Run and now Instagram stories and Snapchat. I guess it was only a matter of time before someone else jumped on the happy snappy bandwagon. So what are Instagram stories?
On the 2nd August 2016, Instagram copied Snapchat and launched the functionality that allows users to capture and share moments from their day in real time to a timeline that is viewable by all their followers. Each 'Instamoment' will only last for 24 hours before being automatically deleted. Just like Snapchat you can interact with the image/video by adding elements, drawing on it and of course adding filters to get that “look at me, I am a professional photographer with my iPhone 6s” kind of feel.
But what does Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom have to say about the accusation that he is Snapchat copycat?
“When you are an innovator, that’s awesome. Just like Instagram deserves all the credit for bringing filters to the forefront. 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. Facebook invented feed, LinkedIn took on feed, Twitter took on feed, Instagram took on feed, and they all feel very different now and they serve very different purposes. But no one looks down at someone for adopting something that is so obviously great for presenting a certain type of information. Innovation happens in the Valley, and people invent formats, and that’s great. And then what you see is those formats proliferate. So @ usernames were invented on Twitter. Hashtags were invented on Twitter. Instagram has those. Filtered photos were not invented on Instagram. And I think what you see is that every company looks around and adopts the best of the best formats or state-of-the-art technology. Snapchat adopted face filters that existed elsewhere first, right? And slideshows existed in other places, too. Flipagram was doing it for a while. So I think that’s the interesting part of the Valley. You can’t just recreate another product. But you can say ‘what’s really awesome about a format? And does it apply to our network?'”Kevin Systrom, Instagram CEO
Whereas this is all good and well, what I am reading here is that there is just no originality left in the world. Not only does Mr. Systrom make the point that apps have been mimicking each other since they started but we can see this type of unoriginal thought everywhere. For example the rebooting of movies (Judge Dredd & Dredd, Total Recall & Total Recall), mobile and tables devices *cough cough Samsung & Apple*, basically any product.
At the end of the day however, it is evident that originality doesn’t matter. What is important is to provide features your user base wants.
If your target audience are on board and prefer your product over the original inventor, then it makes no difference who was first to market.
In light of this recent update we did some research to see what do users think of this new feature?
My personal view on the matter, is that considering the fundamental purpose of story sharing (which is to be quick, easy and instant sharing of moments in time) Instagram may be in fact be ahead of the game.
Snapchat offers a richer experience when editing images/video with the stickers, badges and filters. Whereas the Instagram Stories process of applying the filters/sketching tool can feel rather unfulfilling, however you will not be spending 10 minutes finding just the right Bitmoji to express your inner most amazement at the meal you have just ordered from cafe Kino. For this reason Instagram may actually convey a truer meaning of instant story sharing, as compared with its first to market counterpart.
The real debate will come in with users who have huge followings on one platform over the other. Is it going to be worth their time maintaining two platforms that do fundamentally the same thing....?
Article Author: Nicholas Awbrey