Every few months the internet lends itself to a happy dosage of complaining. Once any service updates it’s user interface the pitchforks come out and we can read all about it from our Facebook timelines to Twitter feeds. The most recent uproar was caused due to Instagram’s new “stories” feature that seems to ring fairly familiar of Snapchat.
Instagram’s new feature, much like Snapchat, provides you with a stream of photos or videos that expire after 24 hours. Sound familiar? That’s because it is. Let’s call a spade a spade…it’s a copycat version of Snapchat stories. However, it’d be foolish of Instagram to come out with a service that is exactly the same as the current leader of “here today, gone tomorrow” video.
No longer do you have to click multiple buttons to go to view video stories. Snapchat has gracefully added a full row on top of your main feed with face-filled circles of all your friends who are sharing stories. Interchanging between stories is done with a single tap, and when it’s time to move onto the next persons’ story a cube is turned. It’s visually more appealing and easier to use than the snapchat version where you have to make a few selections or swipes before getting to your stories page or sending a message, Instagram clearly labels selections. Though I can’t help but feel a little… violated?
After the great debacle of Instagram’s icon change (seriously, do any of us even remember what the original icon looked like anyway?) and the more minimalist page feed, the addition of the bright vibrant circles with faces staring back at you seem to be a bit intrusive. I didn’t ask for this, and I can’t take it away.
A large benefit of Instagram stories is that you’re able to find people to follow using the hashtag system. Perhaps you’re interested in avocados (stick with me here), you search that in the finder, and you stumble upon someone who has a beautiful feed of the fruit and then you can follow their story. That’s not to say that their story will be all about the delectable berry (although feel free to take that idea of allowing users to tag videos, Instagram, I don’t even need a cut of the profits), however unlike Snapchat you don’t need to have a username to follow them. Stories can be hidden from anyone you want, even if they are already following you, which is a huge plus.
The world of living vicariously through others has opened up in a big way. With the addition of Instagram story, all of those feeds of beautiful plated dinners, perfectly lit flowers, or dewy skin can showcase what is ACTUALLY going on in their life without dirtying up their Instagram feed with less savory images.
Stories are, probably, here to stay. We’ve got a short memory anyway so in a week’s time we’ll more than likely be reaching to understand how we survived on the picture sharing app without being able to share videos. But, for now…I wish I could as least hide all of those faces.