The first thing to note about this update is that it’s really big news, particularly in the eyes of younger social media users. This fascinating article published by BBC Newsbeat earlier this week reveals how celebrity users have been ‘picking sides’ between Snapchat and the new Instagram functionality. US actress and model, Chloe Moretz, began her first Instagram story with an image simply saying “R.I.P Snap”.
The technical specifications of the new update are probably best explained here on the Instagram blog:
With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. 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.
Or in other words: Snapchat is now on Instagram.
From an analyst point of view it’s very clear that this is a battle that Snapchat cannot win. And there’s one reason for that: Facebook. Since 2012 Instagram has been Facebook owned, and with that comes all of the trimmings that the social media giant, which is currently surpassing even its own estimates, brings to the table. It’s the second Snapchat coup for Facebook in quick succession, which also recently introduced disappearing message functionality to Messenger. Celebrities and brands can now enjoy all of the functionality of Snapchat’s ephemeral charm on a much more public forum. And over time that is going to prove a very difficult opponent to contend with.
Instagram’s move is also representative of a social media industry in flux, and possibly also in consolidation, right now. Vine has abandoned its core usp, LinkedIn has been bought by Microsoft, Snapchat has made moves into non-ephemeral content, and as Netflix shares slump and Facebook and Twitter look increasingly to live-streaming the gap between broadcast media and online video is closing too.
It’s a smart move for Instagram and an inevitable one for the social media industry, as the innovative technology pioneered by smaller social media players gets eaten up into the fabric of the industry’s leaders.
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