I think I realized why Instagram has "stories"

August 04, 2016

On August 2nd, 2016, an earthquake of confusion shook from all Instagram users. When I opened the photo-sharing app, the top was scattered with little circles with glowing usernames of people I follow under them. I figured that this was the not-so-long anticipated "Instagram story" I had heard about yesterday.

Paxton Mittleman, friend, student, social media marketer extraordinaire 

Basically every story followed the same script, give or take a few words:

What am I supposed to do with this?
Hi Snapchat, uh, I mean Instagram

Some people periled in the idea of another form of social media, questioning whether they have to do two stories now.  Most people, ended up going the self-promo route and plugged everyone to follow their snapchats.

But really... follow n_vergak on snapchat for self-deprecating humor

Some celebrities and brands are welcoming this with open arms, and I actually enjoyed their content. Some brands were even transparent with their dumbfounded-ness, and asked us what content we want to see on there. How interactive!

Instagram has become a feeder for jealousy, while Snapchat has become a feeder for intimacy. 

Snapchat and instagram obviously have their differences. Although Instagram technically did come first, it's been trying to be more and more like snapchat. Instagram added a "direct message" feature, where you can send images and text. Unlike Snapchat, however, it doesn't disappear immediately. 

Snapchat does miss the whole "uploading a picture to a feed and it staying there for forever - or at least until deleted", and the whole hashtag thing, but it does have its own benefits: temporariness, face-misshaping filters, and geofilters.

Te big difference between Instagram and Snapchat is the level of intimacy. Snapchat is where you can post unedited, raw content that not only takes minimal time to create (unless you're Shonduras, but you can reveal personal stories and antidotes that happen to you every day. Instagram has become known to pique people's jealousy, users scroll through questioning why their lives aren't as full of Brandy Melville dresses on Newport Beach, hikes at Yosemite, parties in SoHo, and so on like the people they follow. Instagram has become a feeder for jealousy, while Snapchat has become a feeder for intimacy. Maybe Instagram is onto something trying to be more intimate.

What team are you on? Snapchat - or Instagram? While you decide, here are my six takeaways from "Instagram stories".

1. Think about the dog accounts
Harlow and Sage and Marnie the dog are adorable in pictures. Imagine them in video now! You actually don't have to imagine anymore - the dream is a reality, and the still-life is now live action. It's basically like the account coming to life, and the second closest thing to actually holding the puppy in your hands.


2. You just gained 50 new Snapchat followers
Yes, everyone was using this to advertise their snapchats. Either that, or they resolved to just stick to the original 24-hour story app: Snapchat. If you're like any other social media user, however, you love getting new followers. Use this as an opportunity to grow your brand. Just what our egos need - more people following our every move on social media.

3. Another outlet for brands
I know that some people don't trust brands no matter how much they love their products or how transparent the brand is on social media. As a student of communications, however, I happen to always appreciate a brand's effort to explore social media territory. I can see how some are forced (I love a good  "Brands Saying Bae" Example), but I really appreciate it when it's done well. Social media is kinda my job, so I'm an optimist when it comes to new forms of social media. I'm excited to see how brands approach this.

4. You can reach an untapped audience in a more intimate way
I was scrolling through my "stories" feed, and I was seeing people I forgot I had even followed on Instagram (even some I'd like to forget).  Now, a whole other audience can see your daily life, and maybe bring them over to your snapchat for more. As a user, you can untap the intimate lives of people you forgot about on instagram.

5. Shaking the jealousy problem by tearing down the curtain
As stated before, this may be Instagram's way of being notorious for harvesting jealousy over filters and sushiritos. Now, we can see unfiltered, un-curated content from users that usually don't upload a picture unless the color follows a certain "instagram theme"

6. This could be fun
Think of how cross-platform this could be. Imagine a story that starts in snapchat and ends in instagram. You can drive followers to both accounts, and tell a multi-platform story.

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