Last year, Instagram announced a new feature that emulates the Snapchat Story; they called it Stories. (Coincidence? I think not.) Of course, I had to try it out for myself on a trip to Disney and was surprised by the lack of special features Instagram offered. But a few months ago, Instagram added a few new features to Stories so, to be fair, I went ahead and gave the platform another try.
The Instagram-owned Boomerang app has been in our lives for awhile. With Boomerang, you can record a short snippet that then plays back and forth on a loop without sound. Instagram just integrated Boomerang with Stories, so you can share all the fun of a concert (like the Yellowcard concert I attended last November) without your followers hearing you sing along. This is something I can get behind. (And yes, Yellowcard is just as awesome now as they were in 2005.)
Since the beginning of Instagram, you have been able to tag others in your photos. To one-up that feature, you can now tag your friends in your Instagram Stories, too. Tagging someone in a Story is really simple – just type their Instagram handle. At first, I thought this was a pointless feature that I would never use, but since I wasn’t posting a photo to Instagram, I sometimes felt it was necessary to tag whoever was featured in the Story. Maybe it’s also a way for Instagram to encourage people to look at Stories? Who knows.
Love those stickers on Snapchat that allow you to create a work of art on your selfie? Well, Instragram Stories added those too. Snapchat has more options (including Bitmojis), but I do love the sunglass stickers Instagram has.
Verified accounts (think journalists, celebrities, etc.) now have the ability to add a link to their Story. That way, if they are promoting a product or want to link an article, they have the ability to do so; viewers simply scroll down to access the link without leaving Instagram. The millennial generation wants their information fast, and this Instagram feature could help news sites get their information to younger readers who might normally skip over an online story in another format.
Finally, Instagram added the feature that notifies people when you take a screenshot of their Stories (very Snapchat-esque, no?). So be warned; snooping on folks and sending screenshots to your friends is no longer a secret – but feel free to snap screenshots of their Instagram profile itself; that’s still safe.
So what do I think of this round of Instagram Stories updates? It’s better than the initial rollout, but I’m still disappointed. Overall, I think Snapchat is a better option for the average social media user, and Instagram Stories is best for brands and celebrities. However, as time goes on, I keep noticing more and more of my Instagram friends using the Stories feature. Maybe the tide is turning in favor of Instagram.
What do you think of Instagram Stories? Will you be using Instagram more than Snapchat? Let us know by tweeting @BIGfishPR!