Instagram users will have noticed that they’ve received another new update to the app recently. The addition to the ‘Stories’ option means they can now stream live video to all of their followers.
The new option allows your viewers to comment in real time, and you can pin your favourite comments as they appear. The unusual thing about these videos though is that they disappear as soon as they are over, meaning they can’t be viewed once you’ve stopped streaming.
In addition to this, there’s now the option to send pictures and messages to certain friends on your Instagram followers list. Once they’ve viewed these pictures, they too will disappear.
Many have noted that these new additions, again, ape what Snapchat does. It’s possible for Snapchat users to send certain users pictures and video that will disappear in a certain time frame. After the addition of the ‘Stories’ function earlier in the year, it’s obvious that Instagram is trying to snag more of Snapchat’s users.
However, the live video function isn’t something that Snapchat has yet. Instead, it’s a feature that comes from Instagram’s parent company, Facebook. Like on Instagram, it’s now possible to stream live video on Facebook. Unlike Instagram though, those videos will remain on your profile after you’ve finished filming, so friends can go back and watch them later.
So, are these functions a useful new addition to Instagram? It’s hard to say yet with any certainty. Live streaming video can be fun if you’re at a concert or live event, but at the moment it’s hard to know whether regular users will keep using them, or they’ll become just another social media novelty. There have been cases of more official social media accounts using them, though. The Birmingham Updates accounts, for example, have been using live video to stream events throughout the city, such as demonstrations from the Good Food show.
There’s also the question of whether Instagram should be aping Snapchat anymore than it has been. Although they offer similar services, they appeal to a different variety of people. The CEO of Instagram has said that it’s all about how you put your own spin on the features. From what we’ve seen here at Dojit, the Stories feature again has mostly been used by companies and more far reaching accounts, rather than individual users. It’s clear that as a promotional feature it works well, but it may not take off with Instagram’s individual users.
All of the Stories features are still fairly new, so perhaps it will take time to see if they’ll be the Snapchat killer that Facebook is angling for.