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article imageInstagram introduces Stories, an almost total Snapchat clone

By James Walker     Aug 2, 2016 in Technology
Instagram has announced a new feature called Stories, a name which might sound a little familiar. There's more in common with Snapchat Stories here than just the name though, as Instagram has almost completely copied Snapchat's original idea.
The feature is designed to make it easier to post ephemeral moments on Instagram. While the service started out as a simple photo sharing platform, it has developed into its own social network which people use to informally communicate with each other.
Stories allows users to share photographic moments independently of the main Instagram photo feed. Each story lasts for only 24 hours, disappearing when the time expires. They don't show up in your profile grid or your publicly visible feed of photos.
Story posts can be annotated with filters, overlays and annotations in much the same way as Snapchat allows. Once you've selected a photo to add to your story, you can scribble on it to create light-hearted scenes to share with your friends.
Instagram says you'll only see stories from people you actually follow, ranging from your close friends to social media celebrities you like to stay engaged with. New stories will be displayed in a bar at the top of your feed. It's visually reminiscent to the existing screen used to send a direct message to a friend. When a user has a new story, their profile photo will have a "colourful ring" placed around it.
To view the story, you simply tap the person's photo. You can navigate between stories by swiping forwards and backwards, jumping between different posts and users. Scrolling is done horizontally in a slideshow format, unlike Instagram's main vertical feed, and is visually similar to Twitter's Moments feature.
Stories have no public likes or comments so you can't engage with them in the same way as regular Instagram posts. The only way to respond to a story is to send a private message to the user from Instagram Direct. This will not be displayed publicly though, making the exchange private between you and the owner of the story.
Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories
Instagram
The feature is very different to the rest of Instagram's service, indicating its growing discontent at being just a photos platform. In recent months, it has introduced an all-new design and switched to an algorithmic feed in an attempt to get people to engage more with its platform. The company denied it's trying to be Snapchat though, despite Stories being almost identical to Snapchat's implementation even in name.
"With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting," said Instagram. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed."
Instagram owner Facebook has been attempting to rival Snapchat's highly successful ephemeral format for years but every effort so far, including purchasing Snapchat, has failed. Snapchat has proven to be a huge hit with young audiences, a service known for spontaneity and fun. With Instagram more popular with Snapchat's audience than Facebook's main app, the company may have decided to use the photo sharing app as its service to rival Snapchat.
Stories will allow Instagram users to post more spontaneous content comfortably. The lasting nature of Instagram's traditional profile feed makes people reluctant to upload large amounts of content each day. People on Snapchat regularly share photos of themselves each hour though, posting images of every moment of their day. Instagram Stories will turn Instagram into this kind of platform too, letting people share snaps without consideration.
With Snapchat already so successful, Instagram may have difficulty convincing people to use its own "Stories" though. People are unlikely to post the same content twice to two almost identical platforms so Instagram will need to offer something extra over Snapchat if it is to gain mass appeal.
With Stories being rather different to Instagram's core photo service, it could further alienate users who still try to use it purely to share high quality photography. Many such people have reacted negatively to changes like the algorithmic news feed, as they feel that Instagram now appears more interested in social momentum than pure photos. Stories won't help to allay these fears, turning Instagram into a mainstream social network against the preference of the people who already engage with it.
More about instagram, snapchat, Stories, Social media, Social Networking
 
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