Instagram Has an Identity Crisis

Users who opened Instagram yesterday may have been shocked to discover the introduction of the app’s new “stories” feature—a name and concept taken shamelessly from Snapchat’s domain. So how similar are the two features? Let us count the ways:

    1. Curated sequence of photos and video that goes out to followers
    2. Stories expire after 24 hours
    3. Videos are short and casual, intended for a short shelf-life
    4. Both photos and videos can be drawn or written on
    5. Filters are available to jazz up reality

Differences pretty much only include the addition of a neon-esque paint tool (which we Satori-ites find quite fun), and the lack of face-mapping filters. So… what gives, Instagram? In the vibrant social media era we’re living in, it seems a platform’s success is mostly tied to its uniqueness. Twitter gained steam by limiting the amount a person could say—which made it the first truly mobile-friendly app. Instagram was the first popular app that got rid of words and focused on the visual. Snapchat was the first to realize that we don’t actually want to keep all those selfies. giphy

But first Twitter changed their “stars” to “hearts”(Instagram much?), Snapchat introduced Memories, which lets users keeps and curate photos, and now Instagram (perhaps in a snap-back to Snapchat Memories?) has added this echo of the Snapchat Stories feature.

As any self-help guru will tell you, you can’t be everything to everybody. But it doesn’t seem like the big social media players believe it. So, what’s next? Will Snapchat respond to Instagram’s flagrant copy-cat move? Or will they sit back, confident in the power of the puppy filter? Time will tell, and Satori will blog.

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