Instagram’s New “Stories” Feature

This summer, the talk of the town in terms of social media has been Instagram Stories, which is, yes, practically identical to Snapchat Stories. Just like Snapchat, Instagram Stories contain images and videos that disappear after 24 hours of being posted. The feature is rolling out globally over the next few weeks for both iPhone and Android users.


Instagram announced its new feature, “Instagram Stories” on Tuesday via a blog post. While the company obviously did not mention Snapchat in the post, it is worth noting that CEO Kevin System openly acknowledged that Snapchat “deserves all the credit.” In an interview with TechCrunch, he explained,

“When you are an innovator, that’s awesome. Just like Instagram deserves all the credit for bringing filters to the forefront. This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”

Interestingly, he went on to talk about the proliferation of these formats. Facebook, he points out, invented the idea of a feed that you scroll through. Now, we see feed on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Yet they all serve different purposes. This brings up a question: what purpose Instagram’s new feature take on, and how will the content and appearance differ from Snapchat? Only time will tell.

Some Instagram users like this new version of “Stories” even better than Snapchat’s version. The Next Web explains one reason why: “Snapchat’s problem – which might be slightly intentional – is that it’s always been confusing and opaque to use. Adults frequently complain they have no idea how to use the service, while generations of millennials gleefully enjoy it without needing to be taught.”

Even as a millennial myself, I’ve always found Snapchat a bit confusing; the app is constantly evolving and adding new features that never cease to puzzle me. After reading about the simplicity of Instagram Stories, which focuses on obvious buttons rather than expecting a user to swipe a certain direction, I start to wonder if and when I will switch to viewing and creating content through this new feature.

Regardless of preference for either app’s “Stories” feature, perhaps we can use this Instagram-Snapchat drama to teach us about users’ love of both simplicity and quick, easy, sharable content. There’s a reason the video Instagram posted in its blog post was exactly a minute; we as a digital world are quickly losing our patience and ability to absorb great lengths of content at once…but that is another post for another time.

By Kylie West