Facebook picked a strong running mate in Instagram to take on Snapchat. It had no choice. Facebook’s efforts to combat Snapchat with standalone apps like Poke and Slingshot didn’t work. No one wants to download yet another social networking app.
So instead of recreating the wheel Instagram straight up copied Snapchat’s stories. And it has no shame. Kevin Systrom admits:
“They deserve all the credit”, but insisted “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.””
Instagram Stories is an evolutionary update. It catches up with the ephemeral nature of mobile. Stories will encourage people to share more freely without the anxiety of likes. It also gives users a chance to add more context to their gallery images – a backstory to their photos – while also revealing a bit about their personality. The Internet wants real, not fake.
The challenge for users going forward will be knowing what and when to post imperfect images in Stories versus the regular feed. Brand strategies will have to rethink their storytelling as well. They will have to push live content as a lead-up to the permanent photo moment.
There are too many social apps. For many users including myself, Instagram Stories comes as a relief. I don’t want to have to create yet another following on Snapchat. I suspect that Instagram’s next update will be some live features like YouNow and Periscope so it can further compete.
While competition with the Facebook hegemony is healthy, it makes more sense to fish where the people already are. I’m looking forward to Snapchat’s response.