Last week, Instagram unveiled its newest feature. “Instagram Stories” allows users to add photos or videos that disappear after 24 hours. Sound familiar?
It is. Snapchat has had this feature for two years.
This update to Instagram allows users to sort their Instagram photos into a slideshow of photos, to be seen by their friends and followers. Like Snapchat’s version, the feature allows users to add doodles, text and emojis to their images. Mashable recently compared the two features, finding the two to be nearly identical.
The only differentiating aspect to note is that Instagram users can “hide” their stories from selected followers, which seems to take the “social” out of social media. This “new” feature makes you wonder what social media apps aim for when they try to outdo competitors by copying their features, slightly tweaking them to claim it as their own.
What does this say about the brand? Does Instagram look stronger or weaker for this move?
CEO Kevin Systrom hopes to use truth and transparency to come out on top. When questioned about the similarity of the features, Systrom credited Snapchat with the innovative idea – an admirable and probably smart power move. He praised the original idea and cited it as the reason for Instagram’s decision to expand its app with a similar format. This is a big change from most tech innovators, who often do not admit to “borrowing” someone’s work.
Systrom also says he wants the “Stories” feature to be a way of relieving the pressure Instagram users feel to receive the most likes. While this sounds like a nice idea, consumers are not sure this will be enough for Instagram to regain its innovative cred. Some think this could help users achieve a perfect balance of not oversharing or under-sharing, but others feel that Instagram has lost its uniqueness.
Social media apps will forever strive to be modern and hip, but does it mean they have run out of original ideas when they resort to copying features of others?
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