Today, in tech news that has shaken the internet, Instagram announced a brand new feature called Instagram Stories, which allows you to share all the moments of your day. Your photos and videos will come together in a slideshow format that will disappear after 24 hours.
If you’re thinking, “Gee, that sounds a lot like Snapchat!” you are correct. Just like Snapchat, you’ll also be able to add doodles and stickers to your Instagram Stories. Immediately, Instagram was called out for being copycats, saying the feature is a “near identical product.”
Users are upset because Instagram is ~supposed~ to represent the more curated, polished version of your life, while Snapchat is more messy and “authentic.” To some, this move on Instagram’s part feels like the app is stepping into forbidden territory. But if you’ve been keeping up with Instagram throughout the years — where older users have increasingly flocked — this new feature makes sense. Despite Snapchat’s popularity, it’s worth noting that Instagram’s growth still isn’t slowing down. According to a recent Forbes piece, it has “become one of the fastest-growing platforms of all time, with about as many users as Twitter (310 million), Snapchat (100 million-plus), and Pinterest (100 million) combined.”
Look at it this way: It’s kind of like going to the mall to shop for dresses with your mom. I might drag my mom to Forever 21 and she might say, “Tay, this neon business is a bit too much for me. I’m gonna head over to Ann Taylor Loft.” So I buy my dress (that will inevitably deteriorate after three washes, TBH) and she buys her (slightly less brighter) dress at Ann Taylor, and we both leave the mall with similar yet different products. We both got what we came for and we each had a successful customer experience. No one is screaming, “Forever 21 sold heinous neon dresses first so Ann Taylor is copying!!” Like, calm down.
Here’s the deal: Yes, Instagram Stories is undeniably similar to Snapchat. But Instagram rolling this out isn’t necessarily surprising. It is smart. It appeals to the Olds who are too intimidated to try Snapchat. It also attracts the millennials who don’t actually want to jump on the Snapchat bandwagon (they exist!), as evidenced by one of my Facebook friends this morning:
The introduction of Instagram Stories is not going to drastically change the way you choose to use either app. Just as Instagram eventually introduced video, the new Stories function is the next logical step in the platform’s evolution. And just because it exists, that doesn’t mean you have to use it. OK?
Your parents, on the other hand, might be a different story.